Saturday 15th September
Alan myself and Jon travelled over Friday evening and stayed in our caravan near caldbeck, we discussed the itenary while I knocked together a pesto pasta large enough to feed the whole population of caldbeck, then some last minute kit checking for Jon and myself before we set our alarms for 4am ughhh.
A Frantic breakfast then a 40 minute drive to the swinside inn and we were in place for a 6:02am departure, on our 12hr planned schedule (which for clarification I must add I worked out myself using map and guesswork it’s harder than it sounds)
Alan joined us for the kilometre or so that got us on the base of causey pike before retreating to the car and making his way to our first rendezvous at buttermere. Jon and I had the little matter of waking ourselves up and powering up the steep ascent up to the summit which we managed in 47 mins 13 mins up on schedule. Daylight was now good and the views of the entire route we were taking opened up in front of us.
The ridge took us over sail (6:59am),crag hill(7:22am),wandope(7:29am) and whiteless pike(7:38am) before a quick descent into buttermere at 8am a full 30 mins up on our expected 8:30am arrival, thankfully the public toilets were open and I’m pleased for the sharp arrival (enough said about that I’ll limit toilet talk as much as possible) I did read grahams message telling us to reign it in as he was probably now thinking his 7am departure from tyneside may not get him to grey Knott in time.
After taking our time at buttermere getting the refreshments required from Alan we got ourselves sorted and set off up toward dodd on what turned out to be quite a slog reaching the summit at 9:07am about 10 mins up on schedule.
A bit of a short sharp climb had us on red pike at 9:18am. From here this is one of the lakes most impressive ridge routes taking in high stile(09:31am),high crag(9:48am),seat(9:59am)and haystacks(10:12am) with superb views of ennerdale to our right and buttermere to our left.
The very tasty descent from high crag was the first real quad pounder of the day.
Graham and Alan were due to meet us on top of grey knots with some fresh supplies at 11am, due to the early time gains they decided to get up there in good time avoiding missing us. Unfortunately for them we were back on schedule, haystacks to grey knotts was a boggy drag in truth and we arrived at 11:06am approx 5 mins down, meaning they had a cold wait on the tops(sorry gents).
By this stage the early morning breakfast had done it’s job and we were both ready for some solid food so managed a 10 min stop to eat a sandwich. Green Gable(11:28am) via brandreth(11:12am) were straight forward enough. Seathwaite fell however was a little tougher the 20 mins I’d factored in from Green Gable down and back up started to look a little ambitous, we arrived at the summit at 12:03 almost exactly on schedule. Graham was now taking his job as morale booster and entertainer serious as he started to tell us all about his mountain trial race the previous week this helped take our minds off the fact the weather had taken a slight turn for the worse.
The clag was beginning to drop and this lasted through to our descent into rosthwaite via Allen crag (12:39pm), glaramara (1:08pm) and thornythwaite fell (1:22pm) we arrived at 1:47pm around about bang on schedule.
We were delighted to be greeted there by both Jon’s and my parent’s, my sister Jo (practicing her chief ground support role for the BG next year) along with Alan making his last stop before heading back home. Refuelled changed clothes and repacked bags we were ready for the off, just as we were heading Lord Barry young made an appearance in the car park assuring us he’d meet us on high spy once he’d got sorted. So off we went a little down on time after a relaxed change over but not too concerned.
The climb up castle crag was very hot and humid but we never lost any further time(2:39pm). The next hour or so were certainly the worst of the round we had a bit of a shocker finding the start of the maiden moor climb, our now fatigued bodies struggled up it using poles much to grahams disgust, when reaching the top of said climb turning left assuming the summit was that way rather than get a map out. By the time we realised we’d missed the summit by only a couple of hundred metres we were well on our way to high spy, so we begrudgingly turned back retraced our steps and found the correct summit at 4:05pm
We then continued towards high spy (4:25pm) where Lord young was infact waiting looking a little perplexed by what was taking us so long. We now looked like being 1hr down on our 12hr schedule. After staying with us briefly Barry departed via Dale head tarn and was gone as quick as he’d appeared,as elusive as ever. We started to recover a little from the maiden moor cock up and begun to chip some time off albeit only small amounts. Hindscarth(5:16pm), Robinson(5:37pm) then high snockrigg(5:55pm) all came and went fine I started to feel a tightness in my left knee descending to newlands hause but got down in one piece at 6:13pm. Again Jon’s and my parents along with Jo were waiting Graham decided to finish here not seeing much merit in running on a road so got a lift to collect his car. A quick clothes change and change of socks and shoes to road shoes for the 5 mile run back to the swinside inn.
Looking at the time and considering a 5 mile jaunt along an undulating road I didn’t hold out much hope of getting under 13hrs, to which Jon replied of course were gonna be fine just run and don’t stop. So that’s what we did, our families obviously didn’t think we could manage it either as they were too busy getting cups of tea in the pub to welcome us in 12hrs49 having managed to run the 5mile road section in under 40 mins, Barry had however managed to get back to his car and was pulling up to us on the final hill into the car park he even managed to stall the car the climb was so steep (or that’s what he’ll tell you).
The t-shirt was hard earned now Looking forward to our names making it on the results board in the swinside inn suppose that will be a good excuse to call back in for a beer, special thanks to mat and his staff for first class hospitality and an amazing breakfast maybe next time we’ll book a room instead of roughing it in the van.
The day was a superb end to a long hard summer A great experience and an event perfect for anybody wanting to practice the basics of a round pre Bob Graham.
Total distance 40 miles
Total ascent 17000ft
Just in case anybody would like please feel free to make donations to the MS society no amount too small.