Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Last Weeks BG Report

  1. #1

    Last Weeks BG Report

    A few people have asked me to do a write up of how my round went this past weekend (Feb 15th), so here goes.

    With 72 hours to go, I made the decision to bring my attempt forward a day, after the temporary addition of rain to the Saturday night forecast. Which ended up being a great move, because if I wasn't going to get to do it in proper winter conditions, i might as well (however unintentionally) pick the worst conditions I could for my first round! Seriously though, I thought i'd picked a great forecast. Luckily, most of my original supporters were still game. So, after a couple more pleas to strangers on the interwebs, and a friend offering to drive three and a half hours each way to help, I had my Leg support in place. 7 total strangers, and a friend had all agreed to run around the Lakes with me. We (my Dad and I, whom I so graciously volunteered to be my road support) drove up on Friday afternoon, after a handful of failed attempts to get a bit of extra sleep before kickoff. Ah well. I always assumed I was quite good at the whole sleep deprivation thing anyway. I met up with my Leg 1 support at 21:45 and got some well wishes from a group of pub goers whilst waiting out front of Moot Hall.

    Leg 1, 10pm. With Steve Jones, Paul Wilson.

    It was just a tad breezy going up Skiddaw. With a brief respite whilst going round Little Man that let us hear our thoughts and walk in a straight line again. I hit snow for the first time towards the gate coming off Skiddaw, it lasted all of about 6 steps, and sadly, that was about it for the snow on my round. Great Calva came and went with little trouble, though a pattern of poor visibility and deafening wind on the tops was emerging. Up Mungrisdale Common, we hit the White Cross and went for a wander over to Sharp Edge first, did a quick U-turn tagging the summit of Blencathra, then turning to go down Doddick. This is Doddick right? Right? Wrong. Realizing we'd overshot, we took a pause in an attempt to orient ourselves. Before the wind blew us off our feet again. Screw it. Down Scales Fell it is. Goats Crag wasn't the scramble I expected to do coming off Blencathra. Coming in to Threkeld in 4 hours 5 minutes left me feeling pretty bad, but for the sole reason of it dawning on me my ETA's for everyone else would be way off and they'd be waiting around for a total stranger in the dark and cold. Luckily, they all knew what they'd signed up.

    Leg 2, 02:05. With Paul Johnson, Daryl Tacon

    2 minutes in Threlkeld, and we were off. I got acquainted with Paul and Daryl on the way over to Clough Head. Whether I said it out loud or not, I was still naively of the mindset Id make up the lost time from Leg 1 and not have anyone else waiting longer for me. I wasn't going to let the fact it was the middle of the night, blowing a gale, and we were staying up high, exposed on the Dodds, stop me. Not even when the 3 of us, without saying a word, and perfectly in sync, dropped to the ground after nearly getting blown of our feet again somewhere around Raise. I was still very much of the illusion (delusion?) I could match my previous recce'd times for each leg, despite them being done in perfect weather 3 months ago. I was very much just a follower by this point though, not paying much attention to the navigation aspect of it. Leaving it down to Paul and Daryl to guide me. Thankfully, they pulled over behind the stone windbreak atop Helvellyn. Soaked to the bone and with dead hands, within seconds of sitting down I started shivering almost uncontrollably. They helped me put another wind shirt on, get some hand warmers in my mitts. There, we decided not to stick on the direct path to the top, but to stay on less exposed ground when we could. Smart. Expecting Grizedale Tarn to be our next break from the wind, we pushed on.

    Now, with this being my return to running after 14 months of IT band and knee troubles, big descents still scared me. The uphills felt great, but coming down Dollywagon, Fairfield, and Seat Sandal consecutively was slow and tentative going. The promise of getting to the car at Dunmail Raise for orange juice and salty foods (or at least not more of the sugary bars Id been eating) helped spur me on, as did cresting over Seat Sandal and eventually seeing some car lights down below.

    After the battering we'd just taken from the weather, at some point on that leg Id finally stopped thinking about my previous splits, and was just stoked to still be feeling good and moving well.

    Leg 3, 06:30. With Tim Campbell, Matt Dunn

    I spent slightly longer on the change over here, a whopping 7 minutes, but still forgot to introduce myself to Tim and Matt until a third of the way up Steel Fell. I forget my orange juice too. Damn it. I was beating myself up about that all the way til Calf Crag, when headlamps finally came off. Whilst still pretty breezy, there was no longer a risk of us getting blown off our feet which made for a nice change. I started singing Gaslight Anthem lyrics in my head at this point, having read Ally Bevans "Not the Bob Graham" report a few times. I was also paranoid about missing the proper summits of Sergeant Man or High Raise and was happy to get those ticked off uneventfully. So happy in fact, we approached Billy's Rake having skipped past the summit of Rossett Pike and had to turn around to tag that one.

    Atop Bowfell was the first person I saw not related to my round, and between here and Wasdale were the only other people I saw all day. It was almost as if gale force winds had put people off going up to the tops today! The Scafell plateau was slow going though. Awful, slippery, wet rock and boulder hopping everywhere. One of my hand warmers had stopped working somewhere around here, so I had one lovely warm hand, and one numb, zombie hand. Oh, that's the joys of having Raynauds. I was hoping to take Lords Rake up Scafell, but after trying, we couldn't see it and I was getting concerned about whether 24 hours was still possible, so we quickly opted for Foxes Tarn instead. Though looking back at the GPS data, we turned off the gully too early and didn't actually make it to the Tarn. The scree shoot off Scafell was nice on the legs, but I got to watch on as one of my supporters (Sorry Tim, sorry Matt, I can't remember who was in front at this point) ran down it the way real fell runners run downhill and I felt grossly inadequate.

    Towards the end of the leg, and coming in to Wasdale, I was starting to have a couple minor issues. I was either chaffing or numb in the about two thirds of the nether regions department. It also might be noteworthy to point out, somewhere around Broad Crag, my eyes decided they'd had enough of the wind and gave in to wind blindness. For the remainder of my round I was relying mainly on my right eye to do the seeing side of things. In my left eye, I could see out the peripheral but looking forward was a blur.

    Leg 4, 13:07. With Drew Wilson

    I took a proper break for 18 minutes here, on account of needing to shove food in my face, change shoes, tights, lube up, and the whole "one eye not working" thing. Yewbarrow isn't my favourite of the big climbs, but I had mistakenly convinced myself Dalehead didn't count. So, this would be the last big climb, then it would be smooth sailing here on out. I'd conveniently forgotten about Red Pike. And Kirk Fell. And Great Gable. Coming off Pillar was the only big view off the day. So i was pleased it was on my favourite section of the round, looking back over Yewbarrow/Red Pike whilst running in to Black Sail Pass before going up Kirk Fell. I picked my start time wanting to be off the next section over Great Gable before it got dark again, and despite being way behind where I thought I'd be, I didn't have to put my headlamp on again 'til Grey Knotts. I've never had to use a headlamp twice in the same run before, so that was a new one.

    From the top of Grey Knotts I cautiously picked my way down the (bloody stupid, awful, slow, wet, rocky) wall descent to Honister. Doing this bit in the dark again, still with only the one fully functioning eye, was less than ideal. I could see a jarringly bright headlamp and wondered who else would be stupid enough to be running out in the tops in this weather. Really. Who else would be stupid enough to do that? So, of course it had to be my Leg 5 support, Mr. Les Barker! The bright light was trying to signal to me to cross over the fence lines, so I'd get to run down the grassy banks instead. If only I could read headlamp messages, that would have saved me a lot of time cursing at the rocks.

  2. #2
    Leg 5, 18:00. With Les Barker

    Les was exactly what I needed at this point. I had 4 hours to go, so knew I could make it, but if I was left to decide the pace, I'd have taken my time a bit more. He set the pace up Dalehead and I just followed behind. He kept trying to have a conversation, but half of his words kept getting lost to the weather. The wind and rain were back in full force, so for the last 3 tops, i had Deja vu. Head lamps on, slogging up and down 3 peaks in awful weather, trying not to get blown off my feet. What was this, Leg 1 again? Hindscarth and Robinson came far quicker than I remembered, thanks to Les actually running and not letting me resort to hiking. After Robinson, it was all downhill from there. Until it wasn't, and we'd done a big circle and were back at the top. Now it's all downhill from here! But nope, another little loopty loop. Third time was the charm though. We hit the road and the race was back on. 21:xx was long gone, but 22:xx was still possible, I just had to actually run it in. I had something going for me here, I rely heavily on public transport to do all my long runs. So, I have to run back from train stations on tired legs after long runs all the time, I got this. I did. Turning the corner on to the home straight, I ran in with everyone cheering me up the steps to the door of Moot Hall. Finally getting to stand on those steps with people cheering me in was fantastic. It was great having everyone there, even if I couldn't quite make out people's faces. That 22:xx turned in to 22 hours 49 minutes. Which given the atrocious conditions for about 13 hours of it, and the regularly bad conditions for the other 9 hours, I am very happy with.

    Screenshots from some of the navigational whoopsies made during the round can be seen at, and some other pictures and videos at

    One last thanks to everyone who came along to help me out, and for showing my dad such a good time he wont shut up about it. Seriously. Hes already planning a weeks holiday in the Lakes, and is making jokes about moving up there.

    Conditions Postscript (stolen from Ally Bevans "not the bob graham", edited to make appropriate)

    Im aware that convention states that anything from the start of December to the end of February counts as winter, but I dont really consider my run a winter round. Yes, it was dark for a really ****ing long time, and I got chilly (okay, totally numb) hands and feet, but the conditions of my run weren't what I would consider Proper Winter Conditions (whatever those are). When i originally conceived of doing a winter round, I pictured using lots of sharp pointy things. Ice axe, spikes, crampons, and having to run with several layers and goggles on (with hindsight [and the return of my regular sight], goggles might have still been a really good idea). My main problems were the wind, low cloud, rain, and more wind. Factors which are certainly more exacerbated by the dark, but which can occur at any time of year.

  3. #3
    Master Bob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Darkest eckythumpland
    Nice one Josh. Don't worry about conditions, I've helped out on winter rounds when there's been no snow on the ground and others where it's been snow cover above 300m and -14C on the tops. The way things have been this winter you'd have been lucky to hit the three days of snow we've had! This coming weekend could well be warmer than most summer days.

    Without me you'd be one place nearer the back

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Well done, sorry about the nav' on Blencathra!
    You may not have had snow but it was brutal and well deserving of the 'winter round' moniker


  5. #5
    Not to worry! It probably wasn't that much slower than Doddick would've been given the wind. It gave me a good laugh anyway, going back over my watch data and seeing all the times i ran past a summit, went the wrong way off somewhere, or spending a few minutes zig zagging round a summit i was only a few a way from.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Derby Tup's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    The Worth
    Very well done Josh and team. Cracking report

  7. #7
    Member skipchris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Great work,well done – definitely a winter round!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Well done Josh. A great report and you came in so well under time despite the nav issues and weather.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts