Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mr Graham

The Bob Graham Round truly is an awesome challenge and it was great to play a part - only a small part, mind - of a successful attempt. The planning that Pat put into the attempt was amazing and fair pay to his wife for putting up with it - and his parents, whose house we all invaded for the weekend. The Colonel was just brialliant, totally topper.

So now for a bit more of the detail. We set off at 1am on Sunday morning with me and Dave W in support in the pitch black of the night. There was to be no star to steer us by tonight - nor a tall ship. I've never run in the Lake District. Nor have I ever run at night so in the night in the Lake District was a new experience - and one that was a bit iffy in places.

The first of the three summits on stage one was loooong. A far longer climb than I was expecting. We started at the same time as Andy, a chap attempting a solo round, with only his pregnant wife for support at the end of each stage. I digress, more of Andy later.

With Pat setting such a hard pace me and Dave struggled to keep up and it was decided that Dave W should head back to make sure he got to the end of the stage with the spare kit. So the three of us - which now included Andy - made it to the summit ahead of schedule.

The next section was just plain nasty. As we started the descent the wind kicked up a gale and the cloud came in. My visibilty with glasses was zero and I could not keep up. I tumbled three times before shouting to Pat to carry on without me. My only hope was to try and catch up across the flat once down below the cloud - but I didn't fancy my chances. I switched to gps mode and just followed the arrow - hopeing there were no cliffs to fall off - there weren't [wipes brow].

Fortunately, I managed to catch back up, praise be to the gps. The rest of the stage was fairly uneventful before Pat finally pushed on leaving me to make my own way to the end of the stage. I went a little wrong on the final descent, missing the ridge and going down one of the very steep scree slopes. That was a big mistake and my descent was just plain aweful. I have never wanted a descent to be over more than that one. It went on for what seemed like forever. At points I had to turn to face the mountain and climb down sections - something not for the feint hearted - especially in the semi darkness of dawn. Finally, after half a lifetime, I made the end of the stage with Pat long gone onwards to stage 2...