7 May 2011

A Race for the Shake (Old County Tops Recce Saturday 7th May 2011

Starting with The Magnificent Nine” and finishing with “The Good The Bad and The Ugly”
The Recce of the Old County Tops on Saturday saw 9 of us set off from Langdale at 0730, the forecast was mixed and at 0500 the heavens had been open and it was tempting to stay under the duvet! Having made plans though forces you out of bed!
Driving into Ambleside we found we were right behind Ray and Leechy, though Ray, not have quite woken up, carried on through Ambleside towards Grasmere.
The initial running pace down the road was fast, my mate Lee shouting this is 7 minute miles, could we sustain it for 37 miles? no just 300m before the first climb started!
The super fast team of Ray and Mike at this point deciding to break away and find a faster line to the summit of Helvellyn, the rest of us plodded up Tounge Gill.
Baz was in good form and talked most of the way to the summit so time passed quickly and pretty soon we were at the shelter, though a fair way behind Ray and Mike.
A fairly spectacular if not slippy descent down whelpside as most of us went sliding over, Dave scoring the highest for his backflip with a 10!
Safely a Wythburn and a brief stop we headed up the pass towards greenup edge, Leechy and I decided to try a higher line to the right, which seemed to prove quicker as I popped out at the top of Flour Gill a few hundred yards ahead.
Then began the long run over to Angle Tarn , I could just about make out Ray in hot pursuit so I pressed on but every time I turned to see where he was I fell flat on my face in the mud, note to self watch where you are going!
Arriving at Angle Tarn no sign of Rob who’d arranged to meet us there, but we were 90 mins late!
6 decided to depart at this point leaving me, Lee and Dave to press on over the scafells with Ray’s GPS to guide us down the direct descent off scafell pike.
After a brief stop for Dave to chomp through half a large Tupperware full of pasta and a bag of mini pork pies(How much grub did he have in that rucksack!?) we headed up towards Scafell Pike to be met by horrific rain and wind and very poor visibility. At the summit we were soaked to the skin and freezing as we followed Ray’s GPS trace in the rain straight down the front of Scafell Pike!
Pretty soon it became clear we were not bang on Rays Trace unless Ray had been jumping off cliffs! Was this Rays attempt to get rid of half the competition for the OCT?!
We gingerly climbed down some quite wet short cliffs, struggling to get hand holds due to our freezing fingers, note to self take the Narrowcove route on race day!
We trudged wearily , wet and cold over great moss towards Mosedale, eventually arriving at Cockley Beck.
Not wanting to hang about due to being cold I quickly started up Grey Friar to the sound of threats of Violence from Dave and Lee who wanted to just head down the road at this stage 30 miles in. I wasn’t for road running so they reluctantly plodded after me up Grey Friar into more rain and mist.
A final run down Wet side edge and back to Langdale past Blea Tarn left us on the final road section back to the car, when I told Dave I only had 2 Strawberry Milkshakes in the cool box in the boot , despite looking done in he suddenly mustered a sprint down the road, Lee my southern softy road running mate could only muster a slow walk at this stage and resigned himself to missing out on the shake.
A worthwhile Day out, total 11hrs 35 miles 10540ft ascent, Dave having downed his milkshake could have carried on for sure if we placed more at intervals up the next climb!

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