Thursday, 21 April 2011

Back to the Lakes at last.

Saturday saw another well run LDWA Event: Grasmere Fells, Tarns and Gingerbread organised by the Morecambe Bay & Bowland group. The previous Sunday Mark and I ran another ldwa event - the Essexwalker Challenge around the Crouch estuary on a sunny Sunday where I had a decent run apart from getting dehydrated towards the end. Mark however didn't have such a good time, he was suffering when I passed him (I started about 10 mins late) and I half expected him to be waiting for me at the finish having cut it short, as it was he visited all the checkpoints but took a few shortcuts to make it around 22.5 miles. He was struggling with a sore hamstring plus he also has a touch of shin splints and didn't seem too happy at the finish. He took this as I caught up to him early on:

For Grasmere after much changing of minds during the week Mark decided to drive me up there and bring our eldest boys along; I would run the long route while he would take them for a walk up to Alcock Tarn, he didn't seem too keen on running. Leaving blue skies in Wigan the lakes were misty and overcast but not particularly cold. We only got there just after 8:30 to see everyone heading off into the hills, I got a brew and some toast before getting changed and setting off about 45 minutes late.

The mist was quite low until approaching midday and I didn't see another soul until Great Rigg. There were a few points on the course where the organisers had placed arrows marking the route which was a nice touch but it didn't stop me getting the compass out once or twice to check where I was going. We were tantalisingly close to the top of the cloud on Fairfield and if I had had my wits about me I would have kept my eye out for a Brocken Spectre, as it was there was very little for me to see until coming out of the mist way down from Grisedale Hause, I haven't been down that way before and not having done any big downhills for months my legs were already feeling a bit jelly-like at the Ghyll Foot food stop.

From there on the weather brightened up and navigation became less of a concern. Easedale Tarn was quite busy by the time I got there, I met a runner coming down from Far Easedale who seemed quite pissed off he had gone so wrong. There were runners and walkers all over the place heading across to Silver Howe and I noticed many runners were taking the direct route down to the Youth Hostel rather than following the route notes. By the Youth Hostel I caught up to Ian and Pauline then before I knew it we were climbing fences through woods trying to get back on route (we can blame the walker we caught up for leading us astray!). I was quite tired on the last climb up Loughrigg but the view from the top was well worth it. Then it was a last tortuous stretch round both Grasmere the 'lake' and Grasmere the village to get to the finish. I think I was out for just over 5 hours but time doesn't matter with these events, I was glad to have enjoyed a nice day out.

As ever there was lots of food at the finish and a nice bonus of a piece of Grasmere Gingerbread, a superbly organised event and a credit to all involved with putting it on. I had a great time though I have been suffering since; I ran with a bit of a sore throat that turned out to be the beginnings of a cold, my legs are only just coming back to life now and it's Thursday! Not having done any big downhills for well over 6 months can't help much though.

As per usual there are some fantastic pictures on Ian's blog and Nick Ham's blog. Looking forward to Easter now since I'm off to the Isle of Skye for a week.