We set off from Threlkeld over 15 minutes up. I was now being navigated by Bill Johnson, Rod Jones had joined us and Dave Harrison and Mark Smith were continuing over a 2nd leg. Darkness still enveloped us as we headed up the road to Newsham, being caught by a panting Dave who had had to run at full speed to catch us up.
As we headed towards Newsham House, we were joined by some other runners, who turned out to be doing the Lakeland 100...I'm pleased to say they couldn't keep up! We started the climb up the steep grass, maintaining a steady pace and, as we neared the top, we were aware of the first light in the east.
The effect of dawn on overnight runs can never be over-estimated. It gives such a lift to see the first light and feel its energy flowing through you. The long night is over and a new day beckons. A day to be savoured, enjoyed, remembered.
We bagged Great Dodd, Watsons Dodd and Stybarrow Dodd in good time, marvelling at the beautiful red sky to the east, and the first glimpses of the fireball sun. Whilst this was wonderful, it was not lost on any of us that a red sky at this stage meant that the weather wouldn't be holding and I resolved to get my head down and put a bit of extra time in the bank.
Indeed, as we got to the top of Raise, we entered the cloud for the first time and we were pretty much in cloud thereafter until Dunmail. As it turned a bit chilly, conversation revolved around who had my waterproofs....it turned out nobody did! Ooops! As it was, they weren't needed with the morning being quite warm enough.
Bill was navigating us perfectly through the mist and I was aware that minutes were being knocked off the schedule consistently. The conversation was going on around me and, though I wasn't partaking, I was greatful for it. I particularly remember hearing Bill ask Rod how he knew me.....I didn't hear the full answer but, having already explained to Bill why myself and Kirsten ended up as Calder Valley members, I suspect he thinks I lead a very complicated life! :-)
Mark was feeling a little less than 100% and so dropped off towards the road from Helvellyn. We continued to make reasonable time, dropped down from the fence post to Grisedale Hause and then toiled up the screes to a misty, cold Fairfield. I then descended this well and climbed up to Seat Sandal knocking 3 minutes off my split time, better than I'd ever managed in training. Bill talk a perfect line to the "nose" and before we knew it, we were dropping down to Dunmail. Just enough time for me to nip ahead of Bill and Rod by taking a shortcut through the bracken(!) before we crossed the road and it was time to sink into the chair and eat a breakfast consisting of mushroom soup, corned beef stew and flat coke!
There were lots of people around, I was thoroughly enjoying my day and feeling great. Anne Johnson was filming me as I sat scoffing food, Kirsten was fussing around me superbly, there was a new support team ready for the off ..... all was right with the world!
Mind you, the weather was looking a bit lousy, and Leg 3 was always going to be make or break for me. It was wonderful to be 30 minutes up at this stage, plenty of time in the bag....but it would all count for nothing if I didn't get this next section right.
39th Calderdale Hike 37mi. 01/04/2017.
3 months ago