Leg 1 Schedule 3hrs 30; Actual 3.38 .
Set off at 6.30pm with co attempter Trevor Longman, Navigators Bill Johnson/Colin Ardron and support runners John Kershaw/Sarah Jones in damp/overcast conditions. The weather deteriorated but made good progress to Skiddaw. Coming off Skiddaw Sarah, who was strong going up slowed significantly. I had to put on more gear and carry her rucksack. Colin had a knee problem and separated from us at the Cumbria Way to by-pass Great Calva. Lost time waiting for Sarah and John waiting at the Caldew river which was flowing fast. We formed a chain to cross. Ascending Blen Cathra decided that Bill, Trev and I should go on with our gear and not wait for J and S. Passed Colin at the top of Blen Cathra.
Leg 2 Schedule 4.41; Actual 5.27.
Threlkeld changeover was somewhat chaotic and our Navigator Chris Rhodes had had to pull out at short notice to be replaced by Rob Shaw able, but less experienced for this leg at night and in mist. Bill Johnson was in support role along with Rob for both Trev and I. Managed to eat going up Clough Head but forgot about food for the remainder of this leg (I payed for this later), probably as we were concentrating on where we were going in the poor weather conditions. Almost bumped into a bull dozer(!!) on the Dodds (can’t exactly remember where but then I’m a pensioner). Coming off Dollywagon missed the fence post in the mist and came down the zig-zag path. Lost our bearings as tarn not visible and overshot in an easterly direction. Headed back west and came across the path that took us to the west end of the tarn (now visible) at the north side. Bill , who had worked hard over the two legs, navigating, supporting and writing times, was tired and cold and had had enough . He diverted on the direct route to Dunmail to warn the road party that we were OK if well down on schedule. The 3 of us continued to the col and up to Fairfield. Lost time trying to relocate the path on the way back. Weather starting to clear a bit as dawn approached. From Seat Sandal could see and followed a good line to the road stop. Felt strong.
Leg 3 Schedule 6.14; Actual 6.38.
Good changeover. (except for my cag being left behind!). Trev and I joined for this leg by Mark Hartell – Dave Parry (navigators) and Greg Turner, Roger Teagle as support. Started to pick up some time to Bowfell. Fortunately, Mark had a spare cag in his rucksack along with the kitchen sink etc. and dog biscuits (not for Trev/I but his sheepdog Islay). Bowfell to Scafell very misty. Dropping off Scafell Pike John Amies appeared out of the gloom. No way would we be going via Broad Stand. Descended Lords Rake (too far!) before scrambling back up to Scafell. Trevor, who seemed to struggle from Dollywagon, had a new lease of life and sped off down to Wasdale. I, on the other hand, felt drained and my knees suffered going down to Wasdale. I rationalised I was not going to be able to do this thing. Arriving at the car park (nearly 1/20 over schedule) was quite emotional; all these people in support who I was going to let down. Phil Cheek sat me in a chair, I was given a cup of tea and some rice. I told Phil that my legs were gone and no way would I be able to go on for another 9+ hours. Freud reincarnate, ignored my comment "have you got spare walshes/socks" (I had), took off my used ones, put my feet in a bowl of water, washed and dried them, and helped me put fresh shoes/socks on. The "B….". I had to go on - Where was my walking stick?
Leg 4 Schedule 5.06; Actual 5.03.
Set off with Mark, Dave Tucker and Steve McBride (Trev had gone on with separate support). Made good time up Yewbarrow. The weather was now fine and my mood lifted. The stick was a great help, especially for my knees coming down slopes. Looking around could see most of the BG tops and I tried to avoid looking at Great Gable that was still to come. Went up Kirkfell via stone path. Coming off passed runners doing the Ennerdale fell race including Josh Naylor. Pass is perhaps inappropriate as they were going the other way! The rest of this leg passed with little of incidence although there were a few comments by walkers about Mark carrying Islay on his shoulders. I was now confident that I could tick over on scheduled pace, despite struggling down hill.
Leg 5 Schedule 2.52; Actual 2.54
Dave and Steve continued and we were joined by Pete Redhead and John Bunyan
(navigator). Mind at ease now, I was going to finish. A couple of times Dave
said "I think we’ll jog this bit" which I interpreted as "run you lazy S.. you
are tight on time". Sock and shoe change at car park for the road run (courtesy
of John Amies). All those smiling faces at the end. A unique experience
celebrated in the traditional manner at the George.