Jul 08 06
The Saunders Mountain Marathon, was one of my favourite events last year…. so we tried it again. We did the Kirkfell course last year and so we stepped up a class this year to do the Bowfell (courses are [easiest first] Bedafell, Wansfell, Harterfell, Carrockfell, Kirkfell, Bowfell, Scafell and Klets – the latter being a solo class). This year the weather was not as kind to us …
The events centre was held on the east side of Thirlmere in the Lake District. We arrived rather late on Friday night due to the 4 extra hours of driving, which was caused by someone who decided to drive into a bridge between junction 19 and 20! Nevertheless we were raring to go on Saturday morning and so after a hearty breakfast of weetabix we began the first day. The first leg was rather mean, with a total of 555 m of climb, which led us round the back of Watson’s Dodd (what is a dodd?). We then headed around the west side of White Side and over Helvellyn Lower Man. It was so windy up there. I was literally pinned to the ridge at one point as the wind battered us from the east. We descended down the other side to a stream and then continued round to the far side of Grisedale Tarn and some rocks beyond. We then turned round, dibbed a control at the south side of Grisedale Tarn and then headed down the stream until we got to a very bendy wall going up the side of Low Spying How. This was another evil climb of 465 m, eventually we got to the top and then descended all the way back down to Glenridding. The mist came down at this point, and after a moments confusion in the quarries near Nick Head, we headed out traversing the hill to get our last couple of controls before reaching the finish. It was an odd mountain marathon day, the terrain hadn’t been particularly runnable due to either the ground conditions or the number and steepness of a lot of the slopes…. nevertheless we were in third place for the mixed team, with another team just 7 seconds behind us. Our route had taken us about 15 miles … pretty easy day considering our last outing a couple of weeks ago. The evening was rather funny because the weather kept changing quite violently. One minute everyone would be out chatting, drying clothes and eating and the next, it would be throwing it down with rain and everyone would scurry back into their undersized tents. As soon as the rain stopped, everyone would trapse across the campsite in the direction of the loos … and so it continued.
Sunday morning we awoke, popped our balloon beds, packed up and set off. The course took us up Low How and then High Brow. A long leg took us up Deep Dale, over the col between Green Side and Stybarrow Dodd, then into a sheep fold near the unlikely named peak of Stang. The course continued into the valley with the dam near Catstycam and then up a really steep climb of 195 m – this was hideously steep! We ran down to the west side of White Side and then all the way up the ridge of mountains, passing Watson’s Dodd and Great Dodd, to a small sheep fold near Mosedale Beck. From here it was a long climb and then a hideous descent into the finish.
Checking the results we were still third … phew… and had beaten our competitors by 25 minutes on the second day. Not bad for our first MM of the year … room for improvement on the next one!
Series - SLMM
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