Sunday, 7 July 2013

51st Fellsman 61mi. 27-28/04/2013.

Race 4 of 12 in the 2013 Runfurther series.

Two weeks back in Blighty trying to regain my fitness saw me rock up in Threshfield on Friday evening to queue outside the school to wait to be allowed in. Although dry, the air outside while we waited was notably frigid. Could it be a repeat of last year?

At registration we were presented with a quality Fellsman Buff, courtesy of sponsor The North Face. Once fed and watered we retired to our spacious overnight accommodation, which is so much better since the new sports hall was built.

I was due to run the event with Stuart Blofeld, who had blasted a sub 3 hour finish at the London Marathon on the previous weekend. I would soon find out if it had slowed him down to my speed.

Apart from a couple of brief squally hail showers in the early stages as we ran the reverse of the Three Peaks Fell Race route, the weather calmed down and behaved itself - cold and sunny without the gales of last year. Grouping at Fleet Moss in the bright evening sunshine brought about a slowing of pace just when I was fit and raring to 'give it some' after that miraculous veggie stew infusion at the checkpoint. It was seriously good. (We arrived a few minutes before grouping but they insisted on grouping anyway.)

By the time we arrived at the next checkpoint at Yockenthwaite Moor the photo-taking had stopped and it was time to don head torches. There was no gale like last year but the air was frigid. Taking away the chill factor, I would say the ambient temperature was even lower than it was last year. Later on through the night as we trudged through latent snow drifts, the freezing ground and my freezing drink bottles without the wind chill confirmed that it really was colder. That's carbon taxable "global warming" for you.

Here follows a pictorial record of our adventure.

Stuart gets his itsy bitsy teeny weeny backpack and kit inspected on Friday evening.

Early morning bus journey to the start at Ingleton. Note the absence of any spring growth. Winter hasn't yet ended, even nearly into May. The tops are sprinkled with fresh snowfall.

Wrapped up against the cold on the starting field at Ingleton.

Final assault of Ingleborough summit.

Stuart at CP1 on Ingleborough summit.

The precipitous descent off Ingleborough.

RFID-equipped tallies at the ready at CP2 (Hill Inn). Our previous descent from Ingleborough is visible in the background.

Waiting for the first Three Peaks Fell Race runners at the summit of Whernside.

Approaching Kingsdale via the 'Fellsman trod'.

Flapjack at CP4 (Kingsdale).

Steep haul to Gragareth summit.

We get video'd at CP5 (Gragareth). A rather excellent production (not just because we appear in it, I hasten to add), the video is embedded in the equally excellent Grough report.

Fellsman dignatory tries to ignore the Fellsman washer-woman at CP8 (Dent).

The 'Fellsman trod' to Blea Moor.

Departing CP9 (Blea Moor). Distant hail shower never caught us.

'Blue' huffed and puffed and was getting quite agitated at all the runners passing through its domain en route to Stone House.

CP10 (Stone House) is manned by a bunch of cowboys and hoodlums.

Leaving CP11 at Great Knoutberry summit. Another hail shower in the distance missed us.

First summit Ingleborough is still visible in the distance as we approach CP12 (Redshaw) at centre left of picture.

Teatime in the Redshaw oasis.
Beginning the climb of Dodd Fell. The Dodd Fell glacier was born in 2013;-)

CP14 on Dodd Fell summit.

Next target Fleet Moss somewhere down there.

Grouping time at CP15 (Fleet Moss).

Our last glimpse of Ingleborough on the horizon on our dry circumnavigation of Fleet Moss.

Circumnavigating Fleet Moss by the light of the setting sun.

Turning towards CP16 (Yockenthwaite Moor) in the fading light.

Navigation from CP16 to CP17 went less well than it did last year despite the lack of gale. Peat cliffs, bogs, ravines and grass tussocks all played their part in causing a deviation too far to the left. (I still cannot believe how well the following of the compass bearing went last year.)

Stuart arrives at the finish. (Yes, the previous weekend's London Marathon did slow him down - eventually!)

Many thanks to The Fellsman team for putting on such a big, well supported, well catered for monster of an event in rugged and remote terrain. Taking part in this always used to fill me with fear and trepidation. Now it just commands my respect and gratitude. I shall return once again.

SportSunday were out in force taking their pictures at Ingleborough and Whernside. I got a bit deeper into the route with my 'snaps' but the quality isn't a patch on theirs, what with the size of their equipment compared to mine. See here for the full set.

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