Fiensdale Fell Race

20th March
8 miles 2500 feet

A dank miserable day didn’t deter Ian and I plus 69 others from having a crack at this BFR arranged Fell race. It was one I have meant to do for a few years but it never quite worked out. So this was my chance to have a go at, a shorter than usual course, due to access issues.

I gave it my best shot but always felt like I should have had more to give, but my lungs were heaving most of the way around. I think I may have still had the tail end of a chest infection. Still I managed to hold a good race together and finish 16th in 1:08:08, and Ian had a good run finishing 25th in 1:14:32 out of 70 runners . Congratulations to fellow club runner Mike Johnson who won in 58:59.

Paddy Buckley Carneddau Recce

13 March
15.5 miles 5,500 feet

This run could be summed up as Will Ian and I enjoying a nice flattish trail run from Capel Curig to Pont Pen-y-benglog via Llyn Ogwen then a high level run over Pen yr ole wen and the Carnedds on snow covered ground in a freezing windy white out that was horribly cold, followed by a slight thawing over Pen yr Helgi Ddu and Pen llithrig y Wrach, then a major warming up off Pen llithrig y Wrach and back to Capel Curig followed by a feed at the Pinacle Café.

At times the wind chill on the Carnedds must have been about -15 c. We all felt very cold my hands were so numb I could barely get the map out to look at the bearings. We only made 1 mistake and that was going down the wrong ridge off Pen yr Heli Du, still as Will rightly said this was another 20 minutes of training, a grear positive atitude, no wonder he is good at these long challenges.

I have got into a minimalist mind set when going into the hills at the moment, and most of the times that I do, I end up promising myself that next time I wont be so minimalist with the kit. Instead of a Bum Bag I will take a rucksack with a good winter jacket in it. I type this so I am more likely to remember the lesson. It hit home when I was seriously cold whilst ascending a gradual slope up to Carnedd Dafydd., Will and Ian said “we are putting more gear on”. I thought to myself I am freezing and I have no (or next to no) more gear to put on. So I was reduced to running up and down the hill to keep warm, and that didn’t even work. Still once we got on to the descent and out of the wind I gradually warmed up. Note that I did'nt take any photos from the top of Pen yr ole wen all the way to just before Pen yr Helgi Ddu. It was a kick up the arse and a reminder that winter isn’t over in the high hills yet. It’s amazing how debilitating and how rough having numb hands makes you feel. I along with Will had thoughts of going down at this point, but we unbeknown to each other, toughed it out. Ian was as hardy as ever and had no complaints.

It was still fun though. Although I don’t think Ian and Will learned much in those white out conditions, for their impending joint Paddy Buckley attempts. Still it’s a good excuse to go back down ASAP.

Lakeland 100 recce Blencathra to Dalemain

8th March
26 miles 3,200 feet

I decided to carry on where I left off the recce of this route. By starting at the lead up to the old coach road and going all the way to Dalemain checkpoint. It was a beautiful day and the snow covered Lakeland hills glistened like high alpine peaks. It was a perfect day for running. I thoroughly enjoyed the route it was so peaceful even the long (2 miles ish) of roads were nice and quiet. The only tricky bit of navigation is through a farmers field near High Longthwaite, or at least it would be tricky as this stretch will be at night. I enjoyed a very peaceful rice pudding in the courtyard of Dalemain house, not totally sure if I was meant to be there or not, until I noticed the café. At least I wasn’t trespassing.

The route back in contrast was stressful. I decided to run back along the A66. This was a bad choice. I ran on the grass verge at the side of the road whilst cars and Lorries went past at 60 plus mph only a couple of feet away, not fun. My plan to use the dismantled railway to get back was not too great either. When I eventually found it, a bit further on than intended as the early sections are a horrible looking bog, I joined it to find every ¼ mile a farmer had erected a fence across it. Also the golf club had erected a daddy of all fences. Not quite the nice track back that I had envisaged when using memory map to plot my route back!

So after a bit of trespassing and 26 miles and 3,000 feet I arrived back at the car. The run took 4 hours 36 minutes and the 14 miles to Dalemain took 2 hours 30 minutes. This confirmed to me how good this route is, as this is potentially the least inspiring part of the Lakeland 100 route. It also confirmed that I will never run back from Dlalemain that way again.

All in all a good if tiring day out.