Over the past few weeks as the day drew nearer I was starting to get a bit scared of the training finishing, what would I do afterwards! My first concrete involvement with the BG was with Andy Gibbons back in 2012. Not a good start midnight in Keswick and my light decided to die on me so crazily I headed up Skiddaw without a light. Then I got dropped at the top of Blencathra as I put my rucksack on after giving Andy some food and went on to miss the right turn down Doddick. I went on to do four and five that day in fantastic conditions. I was involved with Paul Booths first attempt doing legs 2, 3 & 5. Amazing leg 2 seeing the dawn rising and the temperature inversion all around us. Saw the other side of it as Paul bravely fought on (especially on five) despite the knee injury. But it was the amount of people that gave up their weekend and worked so hard to keep Paul motivated when he struggled so much that was the real spirit of the BG.
Two mistakes in that:
1) I should not have put the jaffa cakes in the same bag.
2) don’t stuff them into a side pocket of a rucksack.
The combined mush of Jaffa cakes ham and bread was not very nice and John spent the whole climb trying to stuff them down my throat. While that was a bit of a fail what was brilliant was the “High 5 Energy Source” so easy to drink and gave loads of energy. Many of you will have read the brief summary on Facebook, but basically Leg 1 was excellent, interesting seeing all of the different route choices really making very little difference when it came to finishing the leg. The omens had started to arrive when the wind had build up on Blencathra and I speculated to Glynn on the benign conditions climbing Clough Head “what will the wind be like when we get up there?” Brutal was the answer we were 10 minutes up on schedule getting to Clough Head but straight away we started loosing about 2 minutes on each split after that and it only got worse. Ian was working flat out with his compass and route card to keep us on track and on a couple of occasions I had to drag out my Garmin eTrex with my BG route on a OS 50,000 map to double check directions. That leg was one of the hardest things I had ever done, got to Dunmail absolutely shattered and saying to myself how can I do another 16 hours of this? Up Steel Fell and Glynn obviously felt the same as me as he fell behind on the climb. Colin stayed with him while Geoff Simon Harden and me continued in front. The wind had dropped but visibility was very poor. Geoff frequently disappeared off in front as he made sure of the lines in advance. The leg went petty good except that I could see that I was just not making the splits. I suppose that got me down and I was commenting to Geoff that maybe it was a case of not enough training on this type of ground and not pushing myself enough in training. While I had given up on the 24 hrs Geoff and Colin most definitely had not as they bullied me into keeping going.
By Scafell I had decided to lets make the best job I can out of this so Geoff shot off down to Wasdale to get Lucy and Mark ready as I was not stopping. I was just thinking of being 2 hrs down at Wasdale but they explained that is on a 23 hr schedule and by skipping the two 20 minute stops that knocked the deficit down to 20 minutes, which was still doable. That gave me a new lease of life as I went straight though Wasdale to set my fastest ever time up Yewbarrow. I can’t say enough about Lucy and Mark as they encouraged me hassled me stuck every sort of food down me to keep me going over the following hours. We were inside schedule to Pillar but then Geoffs tactic of delaying till Wasdale the second dose of pain killers I took for the knee injury that started to develop in the Langdales started to wear off and I begun to really struggle on the big down hills. So from being a couple of minutes ahead of schedule on Pillar we finished the leg in 6.5 hrs at 22:30 and that was it I called it a day. It was frustrating I was very tired but nowhere near wiped out and could easily have got to Robinson, but it was the though of the following descent and the road that put me off continuing. I was probably looking at another 4.5 hrs to Keswick.
|88.0 km 22:45 hr. Elevation 6,808 m|