The traffic wasn't too bad but we still only got there just after midnight and Wasdale was looking quite wet and windy. Mark seemed to be getting carsick plus my fuel light came on as we went over Birker Fell which worried me a little with no fuel stations open for miles so it was nice to finally arrive at the farm to the warm welcome of their Staffordshire Terrier who always manages to rip holes in my clothes in his excitement. Woke up early Saturday to the sound of calves mooing in the barn at the back who are being weaned, the cows are being brought in off the fells now for winter.
The farmer jumped a mile when I got up and surprised him in the kitchen, he hadn't heard me come down. Mark got up soon after when he heard our voices, he had apparently woken up to the lovely sight of Lingmell nose in some moody weather. We hung around the farm for a while catching up on the gossip and had a look round the livestock to see what was new then I thought it would be best if we went to try and get some fuel for the car along with food for us and head straight to the race.
It was really wet and I think Mark was getting a bit apprehensive about the route, I tried to reassure him that there really isn't much to worry about, the race being pretty much all on paths visiting the top of Whin Rigg. Nether Wasdale was looking really quiet when we arrived but we were about 2 hours early! We even found ourselves wondering whether the race was actually still on until we remembered the 'Caution Runners' signs we had seen on the road. I toyed with the idea of a pint before the race but thought better of it and got a coke instead. We faffed around for a while getting ready and the sun even came out briefly, Mark stayed sat in the car keeping warm while I thought about doing some warm ups.
We were warned at the start about not heading of up the fell before we had run through a farm and reached a large sign pointing up the fell, something I didn't really take in until later on since most races on the run out to the fell I am usually following everyone else. Jos Naylor set us off and I settled in to about 15th place on the way out. You run down the road to the junction then the track towards the farm near the bottom of the Screes, as we got to the farm there was a guy standing by the gate to the farm and the runners in front were turning right off the track and heading up overa stile. I found this a little confusing after being told at the start about heading through the farm but near the stile was a luminous arrow marked 'Gosforth 10' pointing the way we were now heading so I carried on along with everyone else and assumed I must have heard wrong earlier.
It was misty too but just before the summit you could see the runners ahead coming back down the path and heading for the junction with the other path through the woods back to the pub. My back was sodden now with the wind blowing the rain into me giving me the odd sensation of a very cold back against a warm front!
He was looking a bit worse for wear but he swore he came fourth, apparently we all went wrong going through the farm and him and a couple of others went the right way to the marshall who was after the farm, so I didn't hear wrong at the start! Once he had got changed we parked ourselves in the pub and I had a nice pint of Dizzy Blonde thanks to Barbara to go with my free tatie pot, which was delicious. We ended up staying in the pub until about 6:30pm when most of the other runners had gone home, Jos presented Mark with a prize of a bottle of Yewbarrow for being the last senior runner, he doesn't drink bitter so kindly gave it to me. We chatted to Barbara for a while then when she left we got talking to Gary who runs for Ambleside about various races, he was recommending Jura highly which is one I haven't tried yet. He was also telling us the tale of the route shenanigans at the start; it seemed to be the farmer who had moved the arrow and sent most of the field up the fell, maybe he didn't want us all running through his farm?
We noticed that a lot of 'Reserved' signs were going up on the tables so since we were planning on coming back later for some food I booked us a table before we left. It was very cosy in the pub we should have arranged to meet Mark and Karen there for food but then again one of us would have had to drive then. Quick shower and change back at the farm then I discovered that Karen had booked us into Low Wood Hall instead - she had already rang the Screes and was told that they were booked up and she had insisted that since I was a man I wouldn't have thought to book us all a table. I made her eat humble pie while I ate some of the cakes they had baked that afternoon. We plumped for Low Wood Hall where we had a tasty meal and a few drinks. I was stuffed by the time we got back and Mark was already making up excuses not to go out in the morning.
We stopped for a break overlooking the tarn and took a few pics, I love it round there, my stomach was rumbling though and the fry-up was calling so it was time to get back. We ran through the bracken for a bit then over the tussocks heading for the path down from Scafell and then we saw another human, in the distance heading for the screes. I had some fun following a stream back down to the woods, I don't think Mark enjoyed running down that bit and before long we were heading down through the farmer's fields to the farmhouse and food!