The leg 2 recce was organised. We would meet Helen Skelton at Dunmail at around 8:20am. drop a car there and the 3 of us would travel up to Threlkeld to help on Andy Blacketts promptly organised shotgun attempt. Andy had spotted a fine weather window and quickly organised support for a 6am clockwise round.
It never went exactly as planned as Helen was not at Dunmail. She'd got bored of waiting and went on to Threlkeld. Oh well, we could always hitch a ride back after the recce, or run, Could be a long day. We eventually found the pull in outside the industrial buildings at Threlkeld. There were 3 other support runners already waiting. Andy Kirkup, Brad and Martin were on for an attempt in June the week before Roger's. All were supporting legs 2 and 3 today. Brad had also entered the Dragon's back race and getting in as much time on his feet as possible.
Logistics were soon sorted as Andy's road support were willing to give us a lift back from Dunmail. This all seemed a bit weird as none of us had ever met the others before. I suppose this is how it works.
We didn't have to wait very long as Andy was running well and soon completed leg 1, 20 minutes up on a 22 hour schedule. He arrived with his wife Fiona and Dave Swift in support. An occasional table was erected from the support camper van and a good feed of weetabix and muller rice was consumed while he called out orders of what was required. 'Clean socks from that bag, take all the food out that I haven't eaten and replace it with that bag of food.' Roger was elected to carry the support bag, having to leave his own in his van so a few essentials were stowed in mine.
In good time we were on our way towards Clough Head and the weather was still looking fine. Andy was in good spirits and appeared confident and well focused.
The fine weather didn't last as the clag set in on the way off Clough Head. It would occasionally clear revealing our destination making navigation quite simple, although I think it would be a different story in the dark as this leg is usually tackled.
Over the Dodds and Helvellyn the temperature plummeted and I felt under dressed in shorts & t-shirt. Even Brad gave in to the cold, previously toughing it out in a sleeveless t-shirt and tiny shorts the windstopper jacket came out and was not removed until Dunmail.
There were 2 guys in a small tent on Helvellyn selling bacon butties and tea to fund a climbing trip to America. Andy had seen them before on a recce and they'd promised him a free buttie on his round attempt. Alas, there was not enough time to fry up any bacon so we pressed on down into sticks pass.
I did feel a bit slow on the descents but not overly so. more a case of my shoes felt a bit too big and would move around not inspiring confidence. My heels were also blistered from my over exuberance in the Wrekin Fell race last week. Also caused by the 'too big' shoes. These had not fully healed yet and were a bit sore.
There was much talk as we approached Grizedale Tarn of a preferred route up Fairfield. Andy was favouring a route coming directly off Dollywagon Pike, not using the zig zag path but going straight down, then taking a 'Travellator' climb right up the scree to rejoin the Fairfield path. This was neither of the 2 routes suggested on the Harveys BG map and was quite frustrating although it may be faster than the easier but longer way up the main out and back Fairfield path. Didn't seem to phase Andy as he was up it before any of us.
Back down Fairfield and only Seat Sandal to bag before arriving back at Dunmail. OMM Elite winner Duncan Archer was seen descending Steel Fell to meet us before delivering a faultless leg 3 support. Andy Kirkup, Brad and Martin carried on as well.
Andy was successful and completed his Bob Graham in 23:36. This was his second attempt. There was clearly a fair chunk of time lost on legs 3 and 4 which is understandably as leg 4 is not usually tackled in darkness. He did it. That's what matters. Well done.
A took a few pictures with the phone while my hands weren't too cold:
|Approaching Clough Head. Enough support?!!|
|Final descent of leg 2. Off Seat Sandal|
|Refuelling at Dunmail|
|On the way to victory up Steel Fell|