Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Leg 1: It's Time To Choose Between The Open Water and Your Dreams...

With the waiting over (and more than a little impatience on my part, meaning we set off at 23.56 rather than 00:00!), I set off from the Moot Hall with Mark Smith navigating and "the Three Daves" as pacers.

Perhaps I should have been a little concerned when they all headed down one alleyway and I headed down another? :-) An inauspicious start indeed! Soon enough though, we were leaving behind the lights of Keswick and heading up on a clear, calm evening. The pace was comfortable but, by Latrigg car park, Mark was telling me I was well up on schedule. It felt fine though, and I wasn't concerned.

The stiff climb up Jenkin Hill was good, the fence was reached, according to Mark, on 22hr schedule. As we crested the top ridge, a cool breeze hit us for the first time and it was a relief to touch my 1st top, scoot down the path then head on a perfect line over the fence and down on the trod to Calva.

The going was boggy near the bottom and across to the main path. Again, the lower parts of Calva were wet and feet were sinking in....what a contrast to May and June, when the ground was solid. Calva was topped along, with the others cutting straight over the fence, then down the fence and across to the Caldew which was less than knee-high and quite refreshing!

The climb up Blencathra is not one of my favourites. Up to now, I was well up on time, but I never seem to make up any on this. I had my first food of the day and Mark entertained us with "mountain facts", some of which I knew, some of which I didn't (what's the most easterly mountain (ie over 2000ft) in the UK?).

Soon enough we were heading up across the scree and the lights of Threlkeld came into view as we touched the top. From there, I've come to enjoy the descent of Doddick Fell ridge. For those who know me, the concept of enjoying a 2500ft descent in a short distance is not usually my style! But, having done it a few times now, I've got to know those little short cuts and easier paths which make it a joy, and having got to the bottom, I enjoyed the chance to stretch out the legs and run down into the first road stop some 14 minutes up.

And what a road stop! Blue balloons lighting up the darkness, lots of folks clapping and a welcome sit down with some food. And, of course, Kirsten's smiling, happy face...although she was in "organisation" mode!

So far, everything had gone better than I could have expected. The navigation was superb, the company was spot on, I was feeling good and I'd put time in the bank at a stage when I didn't expect to.

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