Saturday, 17 May 2014

Great Lakeland 3 Day - no mis-adventures this year.

This story starts in May last year.  I titled my blog then, Lakes Mis-adventure, and in it I wrote about my rather ill fated attempt at something far too far out of my comfort zone to be,well, comfortable. However as fate would have it I was given an opportunity to team up with a buddy from the Lakeland 50 - Kim, to give it another shot   We both attended another navigation and mountain running skills day lead by Stuart Smith and run by Nav4, I've already blogged about that, so won't bore readers with details here.  I managed to get myself out and about with my map and compass, in fact I have become rather attached to them and don't go many places without them now.

In the run up to the event I was rather busy at work so didn't have much time to fret and worry.  I've also found that because I've now done several adventurous things I have the necessary equipment and am getting rather good at putting it all together rather quickly.
 So on the Friday of the event I had everything ready just to pick up and leave when OH came home from work.

Oh and I did invest in a Rab down jacket which was a godsend at the campsites and well worth the money.

Very good journey down to Pooley Bridge and effortless registration. First person I bumped into was the lovely and very bearded Stuart Smith, navigation Guru number 1.  OH deposited me and my gear and decided to head off back home.  Kim and I set up our respective little homes for the night and took off to find sustenance, which we did, in fact an over abundance of sustenance really, at the Sun Inn, Pooley Bridge.   Stuffed completely we then headed to settle down for the night.  However a couple of chaps decided that they really really had to chat before they finally managed to turn in for the night.  I must admit it is quite funny lying in your sleeping bag listening to people you can't see discussing their newly discovered male problem of thinking you need to pee and then not managing to pee, or how having a mass start had interfered with their supping time. Gosh men have it soooo hard.  They did not remain in ignorance, Bev. left them in no doubt that we had all been privvy to their chatter.

Twas a tad chilly at Pooley I must admit and I resorted to sleeping with my nice new jacket on.  Soon morning dawned, not quite bright and early but early.  Cooked up the first of my porridge brekkies and scoffed down an almond bar thingy, had coffee (necessary) and then de-camped.  Kim's BF Beverley was one of the marshals for the event and came over for a chat before we set off, she was going to be one of the lead people showing the competitors down to the Ferry Landings, ssshhh she even managed to get slightly lost on her recce of that particular route.

Day One

All competitors disembarked at Howtown and were set off in a sort of organized staggered start, with all the classes Elite, A,B and C being set off in little mixed groups.  Kim and I knew only to well what was coming and took a sneaky little route which cut of much of the road at the start.  Then it was up flaming Fusedale.  Fed up with Fusedale when we got to what will now forever be known as Groovy Gill we decided to cut straight up and onto High Street, which I loved as it got rid of nasty second false summit and was completely new to me.  At the point where the Lakeland 100/50 turns to head down to Haweswater we saw a shape through the mist and a plaintive exclamation  of "thank goodness, I'm saved" when we got closer we saw a chap, and by the way he was dressed we just knew he was on the GL3D too. We did think he was being funny and joking around, but no he wasn't.  He explained he was on the C class too but instead of heading up Fusedale he had headed up Martindale (he was not alone in that though) and he had, had to climb out of that valley and over into this.  His name was Ian, Kim showed him where he now was and where he was going and he decided to tag along for a while as the extra climb had killed his legs a bit.  I said he would be better recovering with us and then going on because I was a slow poke on the hills, and might hold him back, he declined and stayed with us throughout the rest of the event, which was brilliant.  I've got to admit that both Ian and I sort of just let Kim navigate, she was so good at it. We did pay attention and attempt wee bits in turn, and I know that I for one learned such a lot from her.
Our route took us along High Street, onto High Raise to the first checkpoint at Riggindale Heights, there we meet some Australian Ladies who needed Kim to set them on the right road, then over High Street Fell onto Mardale Ill Bell, across Nan Bield Pass and Harter Fell (a teeny bit knackering and slightly scary lol) to the second checkpoint at Kentmere Pike.  From there we headed down to the road, strangely familiar again - ah yes back onto the 50 route again.  It was just a short hop now to the overnight campsite nr. Staveley.   Dibbed in to words which sounded a bit like "well Susan at least it's light this time".  Not sure it's altogether a good sign when the course planner knows your name and face and you're not one of the fit and able ones 
Kim and Ian course planning whilst I dick about with the camera.

 A recurring theme.


Day two

Following a much warmer night in my wee tent I awoke bright and early and once again got the stove on and my porridge made.  I then headed along to the communal tent  had coffee and filled my flask with more.  Had a wee chuckle as a very bearded Andrew greeted me in  a very complementary manner(what is it with all these really wild and amazing beards by the way).  His beard may have got in the way of his eyesight methinks.Bid farewell to our ( almost) Ian number 2, a runner from up my way who was suffering with foot pain and had asked if he could join us for a while on leg 2, his foot pain was proving too much and he decided to withdraw and head home.  We had looked at the map the previous evening and decided on the route for today.  This was a relatively simple choice for us as Kim knew the first third, we both knew the second third so well we could of done it in the dark.  Well actually we have both done the Troutbeck to Ambleside several times in the dark. I discovered that the last leg was also on familiar territory for me, being partly the route of the Grasmere Gallop.  We set off in very murky weather which only just began to clear when we were nearly at Troutbeck so I missed the views on this section. Apparently there are a couple of hills to be seen, just not today.  Troutbeck to Ambleside was spent extolling the virtues of the Lakeland 50 to Ian (think we've got him persuaded).  The checkpoint today was at Bilbo's cafe' Ambleside and in Kim's words It would have been rude not to partake of luncheon.  Now there is a bit on the next section I'm convinced that we could of taken a short cut on, but as I couldn't be a hundred percent sure I decided to shut up.  Might just have to do the Gallop again just to see.  Campsite two was situated in THE most beautiful spot in Easedale, once again we made it, to dib in, in a respectable time, which would of been less but lunch was so good it was worth it - who was racing anyway. On the way and prompted by the Coast to Coast route being nearby we were well entertained by Ian with the sorry tale of his abortive attempt at doing his dream adventure.  Just shows you how quickly things can turn sour just because of a misplaced foot.  I'm sure he will return and complete it some day.    During the evening we spent some time in the communal tent and partook of the free liquid refreshments.  I wandered about and took some photos, and we all spent some time chatting to other contestants etc.,  Nice to meet up with Jean (one of the marshals from last  year who came to "rescue" me at yon time at night, a fact she managed to jokingly (hopefully) remind me of.   Jean was competing this year, which she seemed to be thoroughly enjoying).
Good night's sleep and same routine of breakfast and breaking camp as before.  I met Shane on my trip for coffee and he laughingly let me know someone had beaten my record for lateness (a proper runner too).  I've got to say that I loved this camp and remembered my walk through Easedale last year and how I have always planned to go back and show it to Billy, must get on with that soon.

Day Three

We three intrepid 3 day'rs had now come to the last day of our adventure and we set off in the morning sunshine to tales from Kim of the Keswick to Barrow event that she would be undertaking the following week. We made our way up Tongue Gill force and headed straight up this big hill skirting up and round and up and over Grisedale Hause.  Whilst having one of my many heart attacks on that section Kim and I watched this little orange dot coming steadily up towards us, growing all the time into a bigger, man shaped orange dot.  Whoever it was, was fairly tramping and was soon past us, then past nearly everyone else and disappearing over the hill out of sight.  Kim was to learn later that this was the eventual male winner.   We stopped for a few minutes at the tarn for photocall and then started to make our way down to Patterdale. It was on this descent I suffered the first and only fall of the weekend, now this is a miracle for those who know me well.   I caught the edge of my shoe on a slippery rock and more or less sat down in a small waterfall, unfortunately I slapped a rock with my left hand and fairly cracked a knuckle   Apart from that I really enjoyed my jaunt and marveled at the magnificence of St. Sunday Crag.   We reached Patterdale within time and decided to stop at Side Farm checkpoint for refreshment and also to give Ian a chance to check out his blister.  On my part this stop may have been a mistake as I found it really hard to get going again and found the route round the lake to Howtown difficult and arduous, it probably isn't normally that bad, it's just that my body suddenly decided it was knackered and I was feeling increasingly that I was holding Kim and Ian back, kept telling them to go on without me as I was aware the time for the last ferry for us was drawing near.  Kim however totally ignored me and kept tramping on not oblivious but giving no quarter or sympathy as she knew instinctively that this would be fatal.  It was also very, very hot and by the time we arrived at Howtown (with half an hour to spare) I was done in.  I've never been so pleased to see a destination in my life.   However it only took some coffee to revive me, that and the knowledge that I had made it, finished the Great Lakeland Three Day.
I was so chuffed I could of cried, I probably did.  On the ferry back to Pooley Bridge to where it all began Kim got mugged by a toddler for sweeties.

Back at base we dibbed out for the final time and collected our belongings, said our farewells and all went our separate ways. Kim and I will face our mutual nemesis again in July though.  I couldn't of done this without her, as she basically did the hard part of navigating whilst I traipsed along.

Ian I'm sure will be returning next year to compete in the B class. I hope to be keeping in touch with him through facebook.

As for these guys, well they are the best.
Shane - race director.
Charlie - course planner.

and not to forget the marshals and helpers who helped make it a really special event.  I was going to upload some pictures here but can't for some reason. Sorry Andrew your beard will have to remain hidden from the wider community at present.

I don't know what the future will bring all I know is that I was part of this and I loved every moment, thank you for creating C class for the likes of me.

I'm shutting up now.  Well done if you've made it this far.  Hope you enjoyed it and that it has inspired you to think about being a bit more adventurous.

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