MEMBERS WRITE - UPS .
These article are the persons own story of the their attempt, I have tried to pick some of the more interesting ones.
BOB GRAHAM ROUND 7th / 8th July 2000
It was a strange feeling, being on Skiddaw for real. At last! Six months of training, weeks of planning pacers, support, clothes, food and transport, and two weeks of relative rest worrying about vague aches or twinges not usually noticed when youre training hard. It felt a bit like a dream. Everything had converged and focused into the next 24 hours.
We bolted from the Moot Hall at 18.00 hours, the weather fine but the forecast dodgy. We lost Carl early on with a strained calf but Dave and Derek stayed close. The adrenaline reduced the severity of the first climb: it was difficult to hold back. Great Calva passed just as easily. Well up on schedule the pacers reined me in slightly, but we still gained time on the long drag up Blencathra. Halls Fell Ridge was descended steadily, over half an hour up, but concerned that the support group might not be ready at Threlkeld. I neednt have worried. Ray Poulter, the Chief Coordinator was as organised as usual and everything was prepared, allowing the luxury of a few extra minutes rest to take food and sweat free clothes on board.
The nightmare began as we approached the summit of Clough Head. Wed seen the bands of rain advancing from the coast, gradually enveloping the western fells, before hitting us just as darkness drew in. Dave Collins, my navigator for leg 2, was feeling decidedly poorly. He struggled to the summit before admitting defeat and volunteering to make his own way off rather than slow us down. (He subsequently had an epic descent visiting Great Dodd twice he thinks before his head torch failed, resulting in a horrible pathless descent through the clag, a jungle fight through the forest to St Johns in the Vale, followed by the long road walk to Dunmail!).
The traverse of leg 2 in thick clag, driving rain and pitch dark was horrendous. With Ray as my pacer, I now had to navigate, losing precious minutes at every summit checking the bearing list and setting the compass. The paths were almost invisible in the blackness or in the reflected glare of our headtorches, slowing us even more as it is difficult to run when you cant see your feet! We almost missed Watsons Dodd and had to backtrack. Minutes ticked by again on Raise as we struggled into even more layers of clothing to combat the cold and wet. Nethermost to Dollywagon nearly blew it for us. Missing the path we dropped too low and only gut feeling, instinct and luck took us back to the col.
The path cutting left up the face of Fairfield eluded us for much of the ascent and although we lost more time our luck remained as we managed to miss the big screes. From the summit we somehow found the descent path and zig zagged blindly down. The descent of Seat Sandal, although on a previously checked bearing, failed to bring us out as hoped at the indistinct path down to the road. We slithered and slipped down a steep grassy gully towards the bright lights of the convoy of vehicles parked below us, before blundering wildly through fern covered boulders, cursing as we repeatedly tumbled over hidden rocks suffering numerous bruises.
Dunmail felt wet and cold. Dry clothes and warm food failed to dull the feeling of demoralisation. Now an hour down on schedule the spring had disappeared from the legs and mind, to be replaced by numbness. My new pacer/navigators, Neil and Dave, could coax little more than one word responses from me as we trudged up Steel Fell and across the moors. Dawn failed to give any inspiration. The rain was unrelenting and as I was now losing time on every section Id given up any hope of finishing. Feeling dizzy and sick I staggered drunkenly up the climbs and found it difficult even to run the downhills. I conspired inwardly to drop out and head for Borrowdale. Rossett Pike came and went. Bowfell succumbed slowly. I passed the point of no return as we climbed Great End. At least Id be able to get a lift back if I drop out at Wasdale thought I. My pacers had struggled to get me to eat anything, but the jelly babies theyd more or less force fed to me now started to kick in. I certainly needed all the strength I could get for Broad Stand. Our rope support team had dropped out at the last minute, but supported by two keen rock climbers Id felt confident that theyd get me up. We hadnt anticipated that in foul weather the crag feels like it is draped in slime. Today a waterfall cascaded down the crux. Fortunately another BG attempt was on today and their support team had rigged both knotted hand rail and top rope. Ill be eternally grateful for their help in getting us up safely. Wasdale finally came into view as we dropped out of the clag on the knee sapping descent of Scafell.
Now over half an hour down on a 24hr schedule I was all for retiring. Jonathon and Andrew, my new pacers would have none of it. They convinced my confused mind that I only needed to make up a few minutes and Id be ok. A brief sunny spell helped persuade me to keep going. Having wolfed down some pasta and rice pudding I suddenly started to feel a little better. Yewbarrow was conquered ahead of schedule and fresh hope was kindled. Ascending Red Pike however, the dizziness returned but, the Wright/Horsfall secret weapon soon induced a remarkable recovery. The Bounty bars they persuaded me to eat produced an amazingly rapid energy boost. We pulled back 4 minutes to Steeple, another Bounty bar - 7 minutes off the Pillar ascent, another Bounty bar - 11 minutes off Kirk Fell. Finding it hard to believe the transformation we pushed on gaining even more time up Great Gable, knowing then that Id cracked it. We raced down to Honister an hour better off much to the delighted surprise of the support team. Mandy was there, having made a valiant attempt in the appalling weather, but retiring at Wasdale, saving something for another attempt in August.
The fifth and final leg saw me accompanied by a merry band of supporters. Eight of them chivvied and encouraged me onwards, the banter making the miles fly by. Robinson, the 42nd and final peak came and went easily, more supporters joined us as we hit the roads and paths for the last few miles into Keswick. Run a bit, walk a bit, run a bit: we were soon crossing the bridge and running down that long long path to the centre. Id dreamed of this moment for months. The pain was dulled by the euphoria as I somehow managed a sprint finish to complete in 22h : 54m.
An amazing feeling, to have finally done it, having gone from the worst low Ive ever experienced to the highest high.
Many thanks to the brilliant teams who supported both Mandy and myself. PHIL HODGSON ( Todd Harriers.)
BRIAN LEATHLEY (Brians Report )
Jane Grundy Bob Graham Round Report
Monday May 29th 2000
After 2 attempts last year which were both sabotaged by increasingly horrendous weather in the Bowfell region, the obvious resolution for 2000 was to get the BGR ticked once and for all. I hope my support team will forgive me, therefore, for delaying by 24 hours at the last minute in order to try to make the best of the weather forecast. It certainly worked in the end.
Midnight arrived and we set off at a steady pace out through Keswick. As we progressed up Skiddaw the lights of Keswick faded until we were in the mist at about 2400ft. My legs were feeling a little sluggish at this point, probably as a result of the huge quantities of pasta eaten over the last couple of days. John and Jeremy did a great job of feeding and watering me. We came off Skiddaw a little too early and ended up slipping down the greasy scree slopes onto the Hare Crag spur. Undeterred we continued and took a guided tour of Hare Crag before arriving at the Cumbria Way. Onwards up Great Calva without incident, my legs were just beginning to warm up but little did they know what was in store!. Blencathra saw a very heavy shower, which lasted all the way up and it also became a little cold at this point. Once on the summit, Halls Fell ridge was greasy but the top bit was avoided on the grass at the side.
Off up Clough Head, munching a sandwich as I had cut short my road stop. I was wondering how to harness Nick and Wayne at this point as they shot off into the sunrise. My legs were by now beginning to get the message that something big was going on and they should start moving, which they duly did once over Clough Head. Excellent navigation meant not a second was lost over the ridge. Fairfield proved tough, but I had in my head those immortal words of advice Just keep going and soon enough we were there. Arrival at Dunmail, though a few minutes late, saw a shoe change and porridge what more could a woman want??
I could tell from the moment we left Dunmail we were on a mission on this leg. My pacers had made it their target to chip away steadily at those lost minutes and skilfully reduced my deficit by a minute per peak. Soon we were jogging to Rossett Pike where I was actually ahead of schedule! This continued and I was feeling good, making up considerable time as I went along. My major psychological barrier of Bowfell came and went, in beautiful weather, and 13 minutes up on schedule. An inane grin seemed to affix itself to my mouth. I knew I was only half way round and there was a long way to go, but here was the first time that I started to dare to hope that it was, just maybe, within grasp on this third attempt. Joe Faulkner had come up to meet us on Esk Pike and ran to Wasdale. Broad Stand was executed in a manner which a beached whale would have been hard pushed to beat for style. Wasdale 20 minutes early things were looking and feeling good!
All good things have to come to an end and Yewbarrow did its best. I really struggled with this one if felt like I was trying to scale an overhanging rock face without a rope. Every time I put one foot in front of the other I seemed to slip backwards. I felt sick and very tired. Once again the pacers were great and enormously patient and though still up on time I had lost quite a bit there. The rest of the section went ok, although I could gradually feel myself getting more tired, until Kirk Fell. Once again that overhanging wall seemed to appear. I had to follow Lewis, one very small step after another, not looking up. At the top of the gully I was given what seemed to be a caffeine overdose, but it worked and I went onto Gable feeling considerably better but still a little wobbly. Got to Honister still happy, still up on time, but considerably more tired than at Wasdale!
Leg 5 was enjoyable, the highlight being the sunset from Robinson which was absolutely stunning we even took a few minutes for photos here. The last descent was very hard work - it took all three pacers to almost manhandle me down the small rocky steps off Robinson as my brain had stopped sending out signals a long time ago and any form of co-ordination had deserted me. A quick change into road shoes at Newlands and onwards. This proved not too bad, as I had been dreading it. There were lots of people around, all encouraging me and feeding me yet more food. Even more people in Keswick to see me finish which was great. A short hill rep saw me arrive at the Moot Hall at 23.25hrs precisely, inane grin still attached!
My most sincere thanks go to my support team both on and off the fell:
John Armstrong, Jeremy Barker, Malcolm Bird, Joe Faulkner, Nick Harris, Denis Lucas, Dave McDonough, Wayne Percival, Mike Sadula, Jim Sherlock, Gill and Gavin Taylor, Ruth Taylor, Brian Nelson and of course my youngest supporter, 3 week old Robert Taylor-Nelson.
Not least for his constant encouragement and belief in me, and especially for the survival techniques employed on Kirk Fell, without which success would have been in doubt, my husband and greatest friend, Lewis.
31 May 2000
Bob Graham Round 20/21 June 1992 by Ben Squibb. ( Youngest person )
We set off at good pace along the path through the fields and caught some other runners on the way to Little town. Here I changed my shoes and drank from the stream. The day was already hot and we coved the first three peaks in good time, arriving at Honister just behind schedule.
On the next section my brother Jason, paced me, but I had to navigate as he had no knowledge of the section. I was incredibly dehydrated so we went down to Sail Beck for more water and to splash about in the beck. I still lost time going up Pillar and along to Steeple. The rest of the section went okay but I hate the desent off Yewbarrow.At Wasdale I had soup and bread which always seemed to miss my mouth. It was very good to see Fred Rogerson at Wasdale.
On the Scafell climb my dad came withme and we lost fifteen minites. Geoff helped me down Broad stands, then my dad took the rope back to Wasdale and I carried on with my fresh pacers. I caught up time because the pacers were excellent. I felt good on this section, but at one stage I imagined my family chomping through their fish and chips in Keswick, and I wanted to be off the fell and with them.
At Dunmail I was enjoying a cup of tea when the chair collasped drenching me in hot tea. Having changed into warmer clothes I set off with John and Rob. The first three peaks were covered in good time and there were many people waiting to see the sun rise on Helvelyn. it was now dark and the mist came down. I began to feel tired and depressed, and I had a spooky feeling I was going to bump into trees. There was quite a group of us because we were now with the group from Bingley. I was very tired as we approached Threlkeld.
At Threlkeld I had only 12 minutes rest because I was so far behind schedule. The climb up Blencathra was painfull and it was still dark and misty. I found this section particularly difficult because of the thick heather and the new lease of life written about in the books was non-erxistent. We ran some of the way down Skiddaw, and it was great to see Fred Rogerson and John Peel at Gale Road. We belted down through the woods where Dave Carrivick held the gates open as I did on his and Anner's attempt last year.
I was greeted at the Moot Hall by a large crowd - Fred rogerson, my family and supporters and the Bingly and Darkpeak teams.
We all then drove to the Little Chef at Penrith where we had breakfast before driving home to Cornwall.
Midsummer's Day (Wednesday) morning, high on South Dartmoor, midway through the fourth and hardest Commando Test: the "30 miler" and a call comes through on the mobile. Our boat for the Three Peaks Yacht Race has been forced to abandon its delivery trip to Barmouth for the start of the race. So I and Chris Ray, a fellow Royal Marine, trained up and well prepared for the 3 runs - Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis - (and some sailing and rowing to boot), found ourselves with time off organized at work and no place to go. We had been preparing for this race all month and longer and if we weren't going to do it we needed something hard to attempt instead. With the first germ of the notion of substituting the aborted boat race with completion of the Bob Graham Round came the realization that although I knew it was 42 peaks, loads of climb and descent, I needed details. Searching the Internet for "Bob + Graham" initially generated only golf sites. Much lower in the Yahoo search list a travel company organized a week's walking round the route - at least I had a list of peaks (clockwise). Phoning numbers from the back of the February 2000 Fell Runner magazine got me Martin Stone's answerphone (not yet back from organizing a by all accounts splendidly successful and magnificent Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon) and Fred Rogerson, who couldn't give me a website address but talked about witnesses - I said I was a committed Christian already. Then I found Mike Sadula's "Survey on Bob" letter with his phone number and on answering he asked whether I had looked at his unofficial Bob Graham Round website. www.42peakschallenge.bun.com yielded copious amounts of information and a useful pair of schedules (for 23½ and 22½ hours). When I suggested the Bob Graham to Chris he readily agreed, though I don't think at the time he realized just what he was taking on! Already packed for the Three Peaks, we spent Thursday working and reorganizing and later traveling to the boat; Friday returning the Bull 9000 "Beef on the Bone" to its home at the Hamble (averaging 8 knots and achieving a maximum of 12); and on Saturday traveled north from Devon to the Lakes and Mike Walford's house (he was away in France). We had organized nothing regarding support and thought it unlikely that at such short notice anyone could help. Accordingly we programmed days in the hills Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to cache water and food and Wednesday for caches at the road crossings and on the track to Skiddaw House. We would be doing the Round with or without support or witnesses. I sought advice as to timings from the cognoscenti of my acquaintance, but unsurprisingly given the self-determined nature of a Bob Graham completer, there seems to be at least as many best times to start in the summer as there are hours in the night. I decided that attending the Lakeland Orienteering Club's Long-O at Broughton on the Sunday morning was a good opportunity to find some likely helpers (and so it proved). Calling at Pete Bland's on the Monday allowed us to speak to John Broxap and purchase a copy of Roger Smith's booklet "42 Peaks - The Story of the Bob Graham Round", surely required reading before anyone attempts the round, for the force multiplying effect of enhanced motivation alone. In the event, support from orienteers, Royal Marines and members of the Bob Graham Club was outstanding. By Tuesday morning, having done Dunmail to Sergeant Man on Sunday (after three hours orienteering) and the Scafell Pikes, Lord's Rake and Scafell from Wasdale on Monday, and quite a bit of phoning, we had assembled a complete team of pacers and road support. We would be going clockwise starting early Thursday. So on Wednesday, after a vegetating day, usefully spent studying the route with the help of Mike Walford's Wainwrights, and an effort to sleep in the early evening, we journeyed via Martin Stone's house (he had generously agreed to give us road support) to Keswick. Chris and I met Andy Lewsley and Mike Pearson (British M60 Orienteering Champion) at the Moot Hall and at 1am Mike waved us off and Andy led us out through the maze of Keswick and some time later to the summits of Skiddaw and Great Calva. After crossing the River Caldew there was sufficient light to make torches redundant and together we marched across Mungrisedale Common and up to Blencathra's summit. Descending down Doddick Fell, Andy laid a firm 3½ hour foundation for our round, which we had scheduled for 21 hours 20 minutes, basing our times on those of Mike Sadula's website - but without the long stops. Mark Croasdale, a fellow Royal Marine an fell runner/marathon runner of international repute, fresh from his 80 second failure to beat the horse in "Man versus Horse" race in mid Wales, was waiting at Threlkeld (3.33). With him, by the bridge leading to Newsham Farm was Martin Stone, a spread of food and a swarm of midges also looking forward to an early breakfast. We did not linger. The mist stayed down so I enjoyed the navigation down the Helvellyn range, switching left and right from bearing to bearing. From the Wainwrights I had identified all the summit cairns together with the accuracy a Harvey's 40,000 map offers. We eased our descent of Seat Sandal by finding the crag and the path down through the bracken to Dunmail Raise. We had doubled our gain on that section and were now 22 minutes up on schedule (7.22). Martin Stone was there with more food (and promise of greater variety at Wasdale after the shops opened) and to wish us good speed, so was Charlotte Somers Cocks, who had wanted to come and pace us but had twisted an ankle that Sunday. Leaving Mark Croasdale to get away to his work in Carlisle Armed Forces Careers Office, Eric Draper, who was celebrating his 51st birthday by coming out to pace us, and Ian Smith (an orienteer and recent Bob Graham Round completer) took us on up Steel Fell. The mist stayed down. Four hours later, having steadily gained time to be 45 minutes up at Bow Fell, we then lost a good chunk by visiting both tops of Great End and both tops of Ill Crag in thick mist (yes I know there's only one; we weren't convinced the first time so we went back out to the track till it dropped to the Broad Crag col and then attacked back on a bearing: same mound of rocks, doubtful cairn and sheer drop to the south!) and the slippery slabs and rocks of the Scafell Pikes and the badly eroded gully off Mickledore slowed us too. The roller-coaster of Lord's Rake complete we topped out at Scafell and descended via the scree of Rakehead Crag to Wasdale, the campsite and Martin, with a feast laid out for us. It was much appreciated and though we had been eating well en route, we still tucked in (13.40). Bidding farewell to Ian Smith and Eric Draper, Chris set off with Mike Pearson up Yewbarrow while I lingered at the campsite loo before following 4 minutes adrift. Mike brought us out 150m from the summit: very accurate in the mist and then picked up the Bob Graham trod down and round below the rocks to angle up onto Red Pike. Still in mist we scrambled up to the summit and back down to the indistinct track. Skirting Scoat Fell to the left we zeroed in on the Steeple ridge, stood on the summit and gazed down the misty abyss dropping away into Ennerdale. John started to suffer intestinally from now on and Chris displayed the increased speed and strength of one who has emerged from the self-doubt and fear of not finishing. Having gained 10 minutes to Pillar we then lost twice as much over Kirk Fell and Great Gable, through lethargy not navigation (which Mike kept spot on), dropping down the ridge from Green Gable via Brandreth and Grey Knotts to the welcome sight of our supporters at Honister Pass (18.40). Not inclined to eat much, though knowing we ought to, bread with lashings of pate and malt loaf seemed the most appetizing. Eric Draper, whom we had thought we had seen the last of at Wasdale, had decided that, rather than celebrating his birthday with an evening drink in the pub, he would do the last leg with us too. With Debbie Thompson, therefore, the four of us, and her dog, attacked the shoulder of Dale Head. Though a few minutes behind schedule, we were buoyed by the notion that we were definitely going to crack it now. The other major plus was that the mist had lifted and we could see right back across Haystacks to Pillar, past Great Gable to Great End and Scafell Pike, and across to the Helvellyn range many hours distant. We pegged back the lost minutes slowly but surely over Dale Head, along to Hindsgarth and then on the dropping traverse down to Littledale Edge and thence up to Robinson. The descent down Robinson's ridge towards Newlands was painful but we gained respite once we had dropped down to the little dam on Scope Beck (which I remember last visiting as a control on the 1975 Karrimor). The welcome track led us comfortably down to the metalled road past High Snab Farm and then to Martin Stone waiting with a change of shoes for the last 6 miles in to Keswick. Both Chris and I are capable on the road so we had thought that we could speed up slightly, but 20+ hours had taken their toll. Though we seemed to be going quite fast I suspect that our pacers were dawdling along. We chose the contouring track through the fields to Skelgill (thanked our pacers for every gate they held open) and cut through the woods of Silver Hill and Fawe Park and the dormitory village of Portinscale. The lights of Keswick, once far too distant, now came ever closer and suddenly we were under the neon road lights, past our B&B resting place for the night to come, and gratefully turning up towards the Moot Hall (21.21). So what have we learned by doing the Bob Graham? If something's set up as a challenge then it probably is: under-estimate it at your peril. If you're determined to do something, and tenacious in holding to that intent, there is probably no limit to what you can actually do, provided your body does not fail. The best challenges or tests are those which could be failed; the fear of failure, public or private, adds a certain frisson to the effort. Your body exaggerates its messages of pain and fatique in order to protect you: you have to factor out this exaggeration when assessing how things are going. Navigating is motivating as is the knowledge of progress. Mike Sadula's website helped with information early on and perhaps the Bob Graham 24 Hour Club should develop an official site. Roger Smith's booklet is an inspirational potted history of the Bob Graham Round. Be sure to choose a start and schedule which will allow time for a drink before closing time: even if you can't face one your pacers will want to see if they can get you to fall asleep in the pub while they're having a well-deserved pint or two. If others perceive a sound endeavour they will help, especially if they're the good eggs we had helping us. Martin Stone; Andy Lewsley, Mark Croasdale, Eric Draper; Ian Smith; Mike Pearson; Debbie Thompson: to all of you, many, many thanks for helping us crack it. And to Chris Ray, never before in the Lakes, with minimal open fell experience, running in 5-a-side studded shoes with some but not much grip, well done indeed for getting round in a commendable time: it was much easier doing it together.
CLIVE HEVEY 2002
Dear Brian, I am pleased to be able to tell you that I completed the Bob Graham Round in 23hours and 51 minutes on 28th and 29th June this year. Starting at 7.00pm from the Moot Hall on Friday 28th I was under the guidance of navigator Mike Sadula and accompanied by Jack and Charles Larson and Paul - two friends who had travelled up from Stoke to carry for me. The banter flowed as we went through the park and along the road over the A66 and joined the path up Skiddaw. The ascent was new to me. As the path became steeper Charles and Paul started to lag behind. The gap widened going up Jenkin Hill and Mike made the strategic decision to take my supplies and kit off Paul and Charles and turn them back. Splitting the kit between Mike and Jack we sped on reaching the summit at 8.25pm, right on schedule. Dropping off the side we made good time to Great Calve topping at 9.05pm, 11 minutes up. Mike pointed out where we were aiming to cross the river Caldew before the long drag up Mungrisdale common. We had clear skies and were moving quickly reaching Blencathra at 10.10pm. Mike said "last chance for a drink", then we were off; descending via Doddick Fell and reaching the Threlkeld checkpoint at 10.44pm. I asked for leggings and a shoe change, a quick drink, some jam butties and then off at 10.53pm - 19minutes ahead and feeling strong. Ken Marshall was navigating, with Karl Edwards and Jack supporting. We made steady progress up Clough head but the mist came down climbing the screes. I touched the summit at 11.52pm and ran into the mist heading for Great Dodd via Calfhose Pike, losing time hitting Great Dodd at 12.34pm. We ran 100yards to the shelter, stopping to put on gloves and hats as the wind turned bitingly cold. Watson Dodd reached at 12.53pm, Stybarrow Dodd at 1.06am, Raise at 1.28am and Whiteside at 1.38am. I was forging ahead as I knew the section but had to wait at each top for my witnesses. We topped Low Man at 1.56am and Helvellyn at 2.06am, Nethermost Pike at 2.17am and Dollywaggon at 2.38am. Karl and I dropped down to Grisedale to top Fairfield on our own at 3.24am meeting up with Ken and Jack on Seat Sandal at 3.55am. We reached Dunmail at 4.14am, now 36 minutes behind shedule. Midges cut the rest to 10 minutes. At 4.24am Dennis, Malcolm and John Fryer led me on up Steel Fell. The weather had cleared and we reached the summit at 4.48am. Dennis was on a mission to get time back. We reached Calf Crag at 5.09am, High Raise at 5.44am, Sergeant Man at 5.50am, Thunacar Knotts at 6.05am, Harrison Stickle at 6.11am, Pike O'Stickle at 6.26am and Rossett Crag at 7.09am. We had clawed back some time, but I was not eating properly and my ribs were tight making breathing difficult. The mist was back again and Bowfell was topped at 7.42am with no views in site and the rocks now dangerously wet! Esk Pike was reached at 8.03am, Great End at 8.28am, Ill Crag 8.43am, Broad Crag 8.54am, Scaffel Pike 9.08am. We took West Wall traverse onto Scaffell and after much slipping and missed heart beats topped out at 9.45am, dropping into Wasdale at 10.23am. I had had enough. I told Ken Marshall I had finished and was politely informed I was carrying on. Janet Marshall reaffirmed this and that was - it decision made. With my mother, father and father plying me with rice pudding, jam butties, water and a quick back massage from Malcolm I was off, at 10.38am. Geoff Petengell was my navigator with Andrew Wiggins my sole carrier. Geoff inspired confidence and with Andrews quiet coaching we reached Yewbarrow summit at 11.30am. Mist, wind and rain now the confirmed weather for the day. The advantage was I couldn't see the climbs that lay ahead. The downside was the very slippery conditions. We reached Red Pike at 12.23am, Steeple at 12.54am, Pillar at 1.30pm, Kirkfell at 2.24pm, great Gable at 3.13pm, Green Gable at 3.29pm, Brandreth at 3.45, Greyknotts at 3.53pm and slowly dropped to Honister for 4.18pm. We had tried to gain time but the weather conditions had contributed to me now being 46minutes outside schedule and with little hope of hitting the 24hours. Mike Sadula wouldn't let me stop. He told Malcolm and Mick Ludgate to carry the food I had asked for and off we went. He asked me how I was doing, I said climbing steadily, running fast on the flats and steady on the steep downhills, the strategy changed. Mike said "how badly do you want this 24hours" and I replied "I want it". That was it. Overdrive was engaged and we headed off like we had just started a short race. We topped Dale Head at 4.53pm, flew over to Hindscarth for 5.06pm and bagged Robinson 5.31pm. We dropped off at Blea Crags. . We were running fast along the track alongside Scope Beck and I was feeling very rough but hopeful. When we hit the road the ball of my right foot shrieked in protest. I walked up the gradients and jogged the rest. We crossed the suspension bridge, struggled along the footpath to the high street. Mike Sadula said "you have to run it now they can all see you". Trouble is I couldn't see them. I wear glasses and had to leave them off since Wasdale due to rain! I painfully jogged up towards the Moot Hall with more friends joining in and touched the door at 6.51pm. Against the odds we had made up 27minutes on the last leg and I had completed the Bob Graham round.
WENDY DODDS 50 @ 50 2002
50 at 50. 23. 00 7/7/02
( Sub - title suggested by Paddy for this age group : The Peter Pan Round )
A great deal of heart searching went into deciding which 8 peaks to add to make it 50. I initially started looking at those used by the early pioneers from Clayton Le Moors adding in a group to the north of Stair and went over these in 2000. If we had not all had to miss a year out I might have persisted with these. But having lost some fitness I started to look at the alternative extras done by a number of stalwarts. As time passed, the important thing was to get round and as the aspiration of being first female was the goal, I opted to add one extra not used before, one used once and the remaining six used by a number of the men. The day eventually arrived. Having missed the original date of 5.5.2001 on account of Foot & Mouth Disease, the next selected date of 25.5.2002 was postponed on account of a bad weather forecast. In the week leading up to the attempt, I had the luxury of a week's rest as I had hoped to move onto reconnoitring the Ramsey Round by June but couldn't do this with a big run planned for the end of the week. In the hour leading up to 11p.m. on 7.6.2002, folk started to arrive at the car park in Keswick. The support team in the form of Eileen & Graham Bond, Monica & Colin Shone and Chris Porritt were in attendance while my chauffeur, Ralph Henderson, ensured I was there in plenty of time. Wyn Cliff was due to join us in the early hours of the morning after doing a night's work. Two of the three supporters for the first leg in the form of Steve Cliff and Rick Houghton arrived but we were standing outside the Moot Hall with only minute to go when Alan Duncan appeared and we were off. The first few miles are always difficult wondering how fast or slow to go, knowing that getting it wrong in either direction can seriously jeopardise the whole of the attempt. We chatted all the way up to Lonscale Fell, the first extra, but on the way to the second extra peak, Skiddaw Little Man, Alan quite correctly reminded us that we should save our energies for getting up the hills. We uneventfully got over the 3rd extra top at Bakestall, a somewhat controversial choice, but it saved me the psychological pressure of having to think about Great Rigg on section 2. We had left the mist behind on Skiddaw but blinked and almost missed Little Calva, the 4th extra peak, and again somewhat controversial as a choice. By this time, we were moving well and crossed the river between Great Calva and Blencathra. I felt very comfortable moving uphill, so much so that 1 and then 2 of the supporters fell back a little so that Alan and I were in the mist on our own at the top of Blencathra when Rick caught us so the 3 of us were able to descend with me sandwiched between the 2 men. The support was at the ready in Threlkeld but only Yiannis Tridimas was there for the next section. With gentle persuasion, Alan agreed to continue and off we dashed up Clough Head. I regretted for a short period not having removed some of my clothing as it was becoming very warm but fortunately there was a pleasant breeze on the ridge as we flew along to Great Dodd, which Alan skirted in order to catch us up, a very necessary requirement since he was carrying my food and liquid. We made good progress and picked up Mike Mailer on route and then Nick Harris. This allowed Alan to drop off after Dollywagon. Progress was so good at this stage that I thought I would pick up Great Rigg but early morning fatigue on Fairfield made me decide not to do this. The result was that we arrived at Dunmail well ahead of schedule and Wyn had joined supporters so we had a full team present. Being ahead, we were already well on our way when Clare Kenny arrived as an 'itinerant' road supporter, en route to Ennerdale. In lighter clothing, I had one of my most comfortable ascents of Steel Fell, gaining further on schedule. We made good progress through to Rossett Pike despite being shrouded in mist through the Langdales and had picked up another two extras at Pavey Ark and Loft Crag. Down to Rossett Gill and after a quick call, Lawrence Sullivan appeared from behind a cairn to greet us. He was to reappear at Ore Gap thinking he might be unable to find us as we crossed across to Allan Crags, the seventh extra, as it was so misty. This did slow us down a little as I was anxious not to go down on the slippery rocks and I knew we had time to spare. We were briefly optimistic that a rope might appear at Broad Stand but very sensibly this was not in place so we used our planned route up West Wall Traverse, which worked well. We picked up the 51st summit, which was an extra extra in the form of Symonds Knot, which fulfils the criteria for a summit (Nuttall) and has the advantage of being over 3,000ft. The team are to be particularly congratulated for excellent navigation on this section, meaning that time lost was purely due to the slippery rocks and no time was lost with navigation (quite unlike a 60 at 60 attempt a month later where they met similar conditions on this section and slow speeds resulted in termination of that attempt). We fooled the supporters at Brackenclose by approaching from a slightly unexpected direction with the result that we had our first casualty of the day when Monica fell and injured her hand. It was not until much later that I learned of this and could not understand why she was unable to open my new socks to wear for the next section. It was at Brackenclose that I had my most enjoyable food of the section - I think because this was unexpected in the form of warm bread, which went down well with my soup. Off we moved up Yewbarrow, Yiannis now joined by Mike Bates and Wayne Percival and the weather was beginning to clear. Certainly the climb out was no worse than a week earlier, immediately after 'Duddon' so I was confidently optimistic at this stage. We picked up the 8th and final extra peak at Scoat Fell. As we approached Pillar, we were surprised to see the Ennerdale Runners coming in the opposite direction as they should have been through long before but the bad conditions a few hours earlier had slowed a lot of people down. It was particularly good to see Barry Johnson, a 55 at 55 man, and Denis Lucas, a 55 at 55 man. I had the easiest descent off Pillar as we bypassed every unnecessary bit and had a lot of grass to run on. I had been persuaded to pick up Black Crags before this as another extra extra so did likewise with Looking Stead as I knew I had plenty of time to spare by now. At this point, we had picked up Richard and Chris, who felt they hadn't had enough exercise over Scafell and wanted to be out in better conditions (whereas Kev had been tempted by the luxuries of Brackenclose). Coming off Gable, we were met by Alan, who after having a good day's sleep in Yiannis's car, had come up to meet us. As we came off Brandreth, we met the 2 new supporters for the final section, Stuart Thompson and Gary Armitage. There was a happy band of 8 who descended to Honister in the warm evening sunshine. I was able to enjoy lavish attention from the supporters at this point and ate the most substantial rations of the round as I now knew there was no stopping me. The 'man of the mountains', Paddy Buckley, was now 'in attendance' and chauffeur Ralph was back. Chris & Mike decided to continue on with us and Wayne too wanted a little more exercise. We confidently covered the remaining summits but the extra supporters wandered off a bit eastward not quite making Robinson. We were able to resist taking on board Richard's 'mantra' of the day 'Eel Crags'. Stuart led me down a nice grassy route to the track and it was good to see Ralph and Paddy as we came off the fells. After a brief stop at Newlands to allow a change into road shoes, we were onto the final section. Nick and Clare had their cosy evening meal upset at the Swindale Inn when I called out to them to get down to Keswick for the finish. Over the bridge at Portinscale, after we had had a further welcome from the support troops as we ran through the village, and Chris Porritt joined us for the final mile or so. It was a magnificent feeling seeing the Moot Hall. A couple of weeks earlier, whilst on the back of Skiddaw, I had visualised this moment and it was good to see it happen. Virtually all the troops were there, both hill support and road support, so it was a magnificent end to a perfect day. I certainly could not have got round without superb support, everybody playing an integral part in getting the right things for the right people to the right place at the right time. Thank you. Wendy Dodds 17/7/02 (better late than never!)