21st June 2008
Leg 2 Threlkeld - Dunamail Raise 13.2 miles 6,500 ft
This had been arranged for some time and I was prepared to help on more than 1 leg. But I scheduled my attempt at the Paddy Buckley Round the following weekend, so I was careful not to overdo things in the lead up to my attempt.
The day started off with very good weather not too hot and high level cloud. My journey up there in the dead of the night was good and very traffic free. On arrival at Threlkeld I met Wynnn and the other leg 2 support including Bill. A lot of support was arranged just in case they wanted to split up. We waited patiently for their arrival. Just ahead of Schedule they arrived at 04:53hrs. A quick pit stop and a few photos and we were off.
We ascended The steep part of Clough Head very swiftly. Will got carried away up ahead and reached the summit 300 yards ahead of Ian and the rest of us . Will waited for us at the top and I checked the times on the schedule, I knew it was a bit fast but when Ian made the top it was 9 minutes up on schedule. I lectured Will on slowing down, and about the inefficiency of getting the steep climbs out of the way, and then waiting for Will. This wasn't really noted Will carried on with this yow yowing all the way along the ridge. He Would climb fast and then wait at the top for Ian. By Helvellyn I had already asked Will several times if he wanted to split up. He didn't so we carried on. The weather was looking good but I noticed the thin cloud looking like it had been pressed down on top of Steel Fell and the fells beyond. This was a sign that the weather forecast for rain later on in the day looked to be correct.
On the steep ascent of Fairfield Will again took off and I implored him a few times to let me catch him and keep his pace a bit slower. Eventually I did but not before we pulled out a large gap on Ian, Bill and his close support. At this point Will decided to carry on and have a longer break at Dunmail. So we pressed on. We descended the scree off Fairfield then took Seat Sandal comfortably. We rapidly descended Seat Sandal at a comfortable race pace to arrive at the road crossing and a longer rest for Will. Unfortunately Will had left Bill (his navigator) behind so ended up with a bad line off the end of Seat Sandal, he battled his way down the rock and ferns. But he was only 6 minutes behind.
After their break We waved them off with their new support for leg 3 to Wasdale. I got a lift back to Threlkeld, with Bill, by Ian's wife. Then we made our separate ways home. At home I had a sleep then later in the evening made the 1 hr 15 min trip back up the M6 to see them finish. During my break at home the weather turned nasty and I knew that it would have been difficult in the hills. I arrived early and waited for signs of them approaching. Rob appeared and informed me that they had experienced really bad weather on his leg 4, it was windy and raining. he also mentioned that Ian had fallen. I later learned that Whilst descending Sca Fell, Ian fell and hurt his ribs. Days after he would learn that he had in fact broke 2 ribs. Ian Braved a long 1 hour plus descent into Wasdale in considerable pain. Will had already pressed on and through Wasdale and they would remain split for the rest of the round. In Wasdale Ian was warmed up fed and re-clothed then sent back out. He courageously carried on and battled through the increasingly bad weather.
We all patiently waited in Kewick at the Moot Hall getting rather wet in the rain. Will arrived at 23:50 at night. He had battled the weather to finish in 22 hours and 50 minutes. A great effort. After the congratulations and photos. We switched our attention to Ian. The reports from Steve and Wynn were that it would be tight. So we all nervously looked at our watches and peered from under the shops awnings, and our umbrellas, to try and spot him. He appeared in the distance running very awkwardly and the time was 00:55 he staggered up to the high street to the Moot Hall and he had done it in 23 hours 56 mins. What an effort, he had battled the weather and a serious injury from his fall. He was very tired and sat on the Moot Hall steps for a couple of minutes. Before getting up for us to congratulate him on a job well done. This was inspiring stuff for my Paddy the following weekend.