Monday, 28 May 2012

Lakeland fun: BG 3 plus a bit

Plus some suffering.

As I wrote Friday, the plan was to head up and meet with Don (saunders partner) for another training jaunt. We’d changed the plan to originally do the welsh 3000’s over a weekend and instead were going to the lakes to do leg 3 of the bob graham round on the Sat, plus a bit of leg 4 on the Sunday.

Driving straight from work I was listening to the bulletins wondering where I’d get stuck. However, luckily I managed a fairly clear drive and was in the lakes by ten and at the pub for a pint and map rekkie. I’ve a fairly good map-memory so will it all in mind and the pub closing we got heads down and tried to get some kip.

Saturday dawned to blue, blue skies and not a cloud in sight so we packed up and loaded our bags slathered some sun cream on and drover over to Dunmail raise.

This being the start of the day and the only way was up! Since this was new to both of us there was a bit of nav to do, but being a clear day seeing a top, cairn or lake wasn’t too much of a problem. Steel fell found no problem, swoop round to calf crag (second cairn/trio of peaks), bit of a think about which gully to head up for high raise (plus head on for second cairn) then a very short blast over to sergeant man for a quick summit. After this again contour round to Thunacar Knott, straight over to Harrison Stickle and head right to Pike of Stickle. By this point we were about 3 hrs in and had gone through 2ltrs of liquid a piece. So stopped for a quick refill at stake gill and reapply the sun cream.

On from here under black crags to Rossett pike, then a royal faff, route finding issues going up the suggested east side of Bow Fell (scrambling involved), back north along the path to Esk Pike and over to Great End. I saw nothing great about this peak, but may have been suffering slightly here. On from here to Ill Crag, Broad Crag and thence to Scafell Pike with some fantastic views. Unfortunately no time to stop so down to broad stand and then a choice of routes, we went via Lord’s Rake a slightly scree-y scramble then traverse back for the summit. Here we had a longer pause for a phone call (don) and then a quad burning, quivering descent to Wasdale and the NT campsite.

A fantastic day and hard work, but well worth the effort. Much food, sleep, showers (bliss) and a small beer followed before a long sleep!

Day 2:

Waking to bright sunshine, instead of lounging like lizards we sought shade! As both of us had discovered the Saturday quite hard we’d decided to amend our plans for the Sunday. Instead of Yewbarrow, Red Pike, Scoat fell, Steeple, Pillar and then Great Gable (followed by a long trod to the car). We changed this to a direct-ish route of Kirk Fell and Great Gable before the long trod to the car… Don was all in favor of taking it easy and going via black sail pass, I on the other hand fancied the direct, high nose head route, which won out in the end for being ‘short and sharp’.

Well sharp it was, short it didn’t feel like! 1hr10 of pure up later and we summited. Don in slightly better form than I (and about 10mins earlier!). We had a small pause to watch some others arrive and then cracked on. Down to the Beck Head tarn beneath Great gable, then up the obvious ridge/path. Meeting some multi-day BG-ers at the summit (4 days for the whole thing sounds much more like it!). Then a nice pathy, technical descent to the Sty Head tarn. Up and over to Sprinkling tarn, slightly longer but likewise to angle tarn, again with a nice bit of speedy descending.

Here was a well-earned pit stop! Topping up on electrolytes, water, food and letting the legs recover. Final push up to the col (hmmm weren’t we here yesterday!) and then ANOTHER technical decent, enjoying it, feeling the burn, spot of walking when the brain needed to catch up but above all keep going down… Finally the foot bridge across Stake Gill and a head cooling splash of water.

Unfortunately at this point I seemed to think we should be doing more so started running. Seeing as it was another 3k this probably wasn’t a great idea. However, I had it in my mind that some walkers ahead were (fictional saunders) competitors and they needed chasing down!!! Upon eventually catching them it seemed a bit rude to stop running, so we carried on. By the time we hit the pub and had all of 200-300m of road left it was a bit more of a two-step shuffle, but getting back into the campsite in Great Langdale felt excellent. If only to be stationary!

There followed a lengthy re-humanizing process, milk, food, showers, new clean clothes and sandals for battered feet! Into the car to collect Don’s left at Dunmail raise, swap gear and a long drive home.

All in all, a fantastic weekend, hard work, but worth it. Newfound respect and understanding of how hard the BG round is and kudos to those that have completed it. Still for me, 17 new mountains (yup – ALL new) and a lot of mileage later I’m happy, tired, but happy.

i'll post up Sundays route when i've heard back from Don ;-)

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