Tuesday 12 January 2016

Spine Challenger (MRT) 2016

Where do I start? With my current body state? With the anticipation at the beginning? With the fact I was running the Spine in aid of My Mountain Rescue team? (yes you can still donate by clicking that link) With massive and heartfelt thanks to Lynne, without whom I certainly wouldn’t have finished?
I suppose at least I don’t have to go through my prep- that was all done in the last 9-10 posts.
Let’s start at Edale.
The start of the 2016 Spine Challenger

Friday afternoon I headed over to Edale with Phil and Patch, fellow Glossop Mountain Rescuers who were also signed up to do the Mountain Rescue Spine Challenger Event. We got all of our kit checked. registered and received numbers, went for a coffee and had the briefing. All very civilised.

Phil and me waiting for the start
Early to bed, and then a 4am rise to gather stuff together, get driven to Edale in the MR truck by Pete and Andy. Once our trackers had been strapped onto our sack (courtesy of Open Tracking), we stood around for a bit, chewing the fat and trying to make Pete, Andy, Anne and Kate feel better that they had volunteered to get up waaaaay before the crack of dawn to come and see us off. Soon enough we were herded over to the start line, where we waited for a slightly delayed start, eventually heading off into the blackness at 0710. No, the sun was not up, it was no-where near being up, headtorches were an absolute necessity. I managed to get myself to the front of the start line and made a pretty decent get-a-way without being crowded in the middle of a load of muddy shoed runners. It was a little surprising to be first out of the field, but much less surprising as people started overtaking me on the road up toward the Nags Head and the start of the Pennine Way proper. There must have been a bunch of about 5 or 6 of us as we made our way onto the long distance path, and as we made our way along, skirting under the south edge of Kinder, 2 people had eked out a lead of about 100 metres- I found out later this was Beth Pascall and her Bloke, Matt), and I was in a group of about 3-4 following behind.
As we started climbing up Jacob's ladder, the walking poles came out, and I noticed a few people around me breathing heavily through the effort of walking up the hill… its 108 Miles, I thought to myself… don’t knacker yourself out on the first hill!
A bit grim as I passed Kinder Low End
It got lighter, and I really wanted to turn out my torch, get my eyes used to the gloom and save batteries, but those around me were not so happy with the light levels and continued to use their headtorches on what appeared to be maximum brightness. I either had to keep my torch on, in order to see where my feet were going, or be constantly in a black shadow cast by insanely bright headtorches. It was about this point that I decided that I was just going to do the whole thing as far away from anyone else as possible.

Still Grim towards Kinder Downfall
Up onto the tops, it was pretty murky, the cloud was down, and I was moving at what I thought was a fairly sedate pace. I followed the edge path around Kinder on my own, which was, from now, pretty much the feature for the rest of the race, and was thankful that I pretty much knew this bit of the trail, and didn’t need to waste my Satmap batteries before I really needed them.
I was, however, very very aware that a minor navigational mishap would be very embarrassing, on this, my “home” turf.
Just after Kinder Downfall I noticed I was catching up with the leaders, and carried on catching them along to Kinder Corner- where I took the fellrunners line (I really hate those steps) and easily overtook Beth and Matt who were pootling down the stone stairway.
Looking across Featherbed moss toward Higher Shelf
Considering this was now Glossop Mountain rescue territory proper, I thought I should probably keep my lead at least until Snake Summit where a number of the team would be waiting, so I settled into a bit of an easy pace and trotted my way across Featherbed moss, taking care not to fall afoul of any of the cracks in the flagstones.
Beth and Matt behind me on Featherbed Moss
I managed to hold onto my lead as I passed Snake Summit in just under 2 hours - at about 9:05, and got a rousing cheer from the GMRT members manning the road crossing- I didn’t really feel the need to stop, and just sailed on through. Up onto Bleaklow, following the Pennine way - not the best bit of Bleaklow, it has to be said, but the race route on this particular day. On the way over I met Helen Allison and husband, and then just at Bleaklow Head, Matt Huxford, a fellow Glossopdale Harrier appeared out of the mist saying that I was the first runner he’d seen - to which my answer was, “there's a pretty good reason for that!”. My home turf knowledge, and perhaps over-exuberance from being back running after pretty much a 2 month layoff from Achilles tendinopathy meant I was making good time over this section. Perhaps a little too good.

Across the Dam at woodhead
I kept wondering if this was a speed I’d be able to maintain all the way up to Hawes… and there was only one way to find out. I tootled off Bleaklow down Torside to Reaps where Lynne was waiting for me, along with a couple more of the MRT lot. My headtorch finally got taken off my head (I hadn’t really had time to pack it away up until then), and I munched on some more food - making sure I was taking on enough fuel was critical even at this early point - and would prove even more so later on in the race.

Across the dam, more friends out to cheer, and then a lovely little bit of company from some fellow Harriers,
Andy Burnett, John Stephenson, Tom, Cat etc. helping me along. Thanks for the pic Steve
Andy Burnett, John Stephenson, Andy’s friend, who I’m pretty sure had a name…, and also Tom, Cat, Steve and Jen, out walking and photog-ing along the trail. Up onto Black hill, and it was the first real slog of the day, trying to make sure I wasn’t working too hard, but equally, trying not to slack off too much. Black hill is a lovely place to run, and although my Orocs were gripping to literally everything that I stood on, there was still one place where I lost my footing enough to go over.
Looking South down Crowden Great Brook
Down off Blackhill, and up to Wessenden, getting to the Isle of Skye Road in 4:40 - approximately 1150 - Lynne was there, waving and shouting, along with Jason and Jacquie Budd, who I hadn’t seen in ages - thanks for coming out and supporting!
This road - the Isle of Skye road is pretty much the limit of *my* patch, and where I’m less sure of what is going on.
Thanks Jason for these excellent photos at Isle of Skye road
This was the point where I was going to have to start switching on a bit more,, and really, the point where my mental map of the Pennine way - as opposed to the entire moor - really began.

Off down toward Wessenden
Down towards Marsden, past the lovely people from Fellrunning briefs, and then up onto the moors over toward the A62 I started to begin to feel a little tiredness creeping into my legs.
big smiles coming down the Wessenden trail - normally I'm racing the other direction on the Trigger...

Thanks to @fellrunninbriefs for these excellent shots
Hopefully this would be the worst it would get for quite a while…
Arrival at A62
It was quite a relief as I headed down toward the A62 when the eventual winner, Tom Hollins came past me, though it was obvious my shoes were much much grippier on the wet flagstones.
We had a very brief chat, and then Tom made good progress past me, and set off strongly over the next patch of moorland. There was certainly no way I was going to keep up with his pace, so I set off at a much more sedate pace, and started to think about the long game.
Photo of me that ended up on the front of grough.co.uk
Underfoot was classic Peaty/gritstoney clag which was pretty grim, but I was very glad to have shorts on as it still felt pretty mild in terms of the weather.
The next section was pretty unexceptional, not fast enough to be exciting, and not enough rubbish weather to really make it memorable. It was great to see Al and Lynne at the M62 truck stop, where I changed my gloves and buffs, got passed by Beth and Matt. This is about 52km into the race, I arrived there in 6:52, at about 2pm, changed my GPS watch for a fully charged one and then headed off North once more, with plans to see Lynne at Hebden Bridge where the 1st checkpoint was stationed.

Al seeing me in at the M62 stop
Although I had put together a vague schedule, even by now it was apparent that I was being really quite bullish (read: unrealistic) with my calculated pace, and I was an hour or so behind where I hoped I might have been. Across the moor and past the reservoirs, it was a lovely thing to see Stoodley Pike rearing up ahead of me - the signal that Hebden Bridge wasn’t far away. Beth and Matt were a way ahead of me, but I could still see them, so I stuck in and just plugged away across the top.

Mind out for the... oh, nevermind.
Going down into Charlestown it was beginning to get to dusk and I took the time to switch on my Satmap… probably should have got out a headtorch as well, but didn’t bother, thinking that soon enough I’d be at the checkpoint… forgetting that the CP is actually 2 pretty steep and gnarly hills away from the main road crossing.
By this time it was beginning to hurt when I ran, so I was reduced to a fairly swift walk with poles. Annoying, and really not what I wanted - another disappointment, perhaps stemming from not really being able to properly train for the past 2 months… still, not a deal breaker.
I blasted my way over to Slack, and it was pretty much properly dark as I made my way down the mile and a half detour down the road and horribly muddy path to the checkpoint. Lynne was indeed waiting for me at the road, and I nicked her torch for the final squidge down to the CP where I caught up with Tom, Beth and Matt who were just about to start getting ready to go. It was about 5:20pm, I'd been on the go for 10:10 and gone just about 75km.

Arrival at Hebden Bridge. Stubbornly refusing to take out a headtorch til I left the Checkpoint
My good friend Caroline McCann who is a helper at this years event was there telling me to eat more food, and plying me with hot, sweet tea, made sure that I was ok and not suffering too much at this point - I wasn’t yet… soon enough I would be learning how to suffer better.
While I was in the CP it started to rain.
No, not rain like that.
REALLY rain.
All the sodden paths were now getting worse, it was dark, I certainly wasn’t in much of a state to run any more, and although this was checkpoint one of two, it wasn’t anywhere near halfway. This face alone was enough to make my shoulders slump a little - but what can you do in a situation like this? Certainly not sit around and moan about it, that doesn’t achieve anything, and it certainly doesn’t tick off miles. The only way to do that was to put one foot in front of the other. Relentless forward progress.
This was about to get tough.

No idea how long I stayed at the checkpoint, but I took the time to change my socks before carrying my drop bag back up the hill to Lynne. (I didn’t have to do this, we just figured it would be easier than leaving it with the staff to take to Hawes).
I made my way up the hill through ankle deep mud and loam and heavy rain, to knock on the door of the van where Lynne was sheltering. I grabbed a new pair of big, warm mitts and we walked up the hill together to where I was to re-join the Pennine Way, she made sure I was eating and drinking enough (I wasn’t), and soon enough I was on my way, on my own into the night, with the promise of seeing Lynne by Ponden reservoir on the otherside of Heptonstall moor, Wadsworth moor, and Withins (Wuthering) height.
All of this was pretty obvious in terms of footpaths and the way to go. A previous recce left me knowing exactly what to expect and when, so all I had to do was concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other, and keeping my hands warm.

And this was the start of the problems - warm hands are fine, but as soon as my hands get wet, they get cold, and then I stop wanting to do things. I had mitts on, with hand warmers, but they were too clumsy for me to be able to get food or water out of my bag. in order to do so I had to go barehanded, which chilled me to the bone, and then I suffered more. As a result, I started eating and drinking less, which was not a good thing.

No headtorches anywhere to be seen, I tried to keep my speed up as much as I could, walking with poles, I was, I hoped, “licking on a bit” as Guy Martin would say.
GPS track from Ponden
From the beginning many different songs had been going through my head, at this point, I’m pretty sure it was a Beethoven Sonata, but whatever it was, it kept the thought of the incredible amount of rain hammering down on me, out of my head. It was very fortunate the rain was on my back - it would have been even worse if I’d have been walking into it.

The path over Withins height is a good solid track with big flag stones, very hard to lose, so I stomped over there and down into Ponden without too much trouble - though I knew I was slowing down. A stop at Ponden Res’r  - at about 8:15pm - with Lynne to change my sodden baselayer, jam a couple of tangfantastics down my throat, and off again, across and over to Oakworth moor, and the delights of Bare hill, the point which I was, perhaps, most concerned about.
Middle of the night, kind of indistinct path, and lots of scope to really mess things up. Concentrate.
I switched on a GPX track on my watch to make sure I wasn’t doing anything foolish up there - a bit of a peace of mind thing, and ticked off the bits of “featureless” moorland in my head as I went past them. One good thing about running on Bleaklow is that you realise almost EVERYWHERE has features to navigate by, and virtually nowhere is as bad as Bleaklow for navigational bleakness.

Arrival at Cowling, with Steve escorting me along the road
I was hurting, no other way to describe it, as I came off the hill towards Cowling. I was telling myself that at least the worst parts of the moors were over, and now it was pretty much farmland until I hit Malham.
Little did I know just how freaking bad the farmland was going to be.

At Cowling, 10pm, 15 hours and 100km into the race, the welcome site of Lynne, and members of Glossop Mountain rescue greeted me. Steve, Al, Pete, and Anne were all there, ready to dole out tea and other riches. I then found out that since I had been off galavanting along the Pennine Way there had actually been 2 callouts for the team, back to back - and a couple of the guys had already been on the callouts and were now stationed at Cowling into the night. Wet boots and all.
Thanks for the support guys.

Glossop Mountain Rescue Stop at Cowling
I didn’t stop in Cowling for long, not wanting to seize up, so carried on at whatever pace I could down the hill. Stiles were beginning to become a bit more complex in terms of leg movements, but my head was surprisingly still relatively clear.
Past Cowling I headed into the dreaded cow-fields of the lowlands. If the leg sucking bogs of the tops had been bad, these badly drained fields were a massive drain on any energy that I had left. Think thick gloopy mud which sucks you into the ground at every footstep. My hips began to feel tired trying to rip my feet out of the mud on each step, and I fear that I slowed considerably.
Spirits were raised by a lone random man in Lothersdale, with his van, a load of tea, waterbottles and flapjack. Still not eating or drinking properly I gladly had a few gulps of water, astonished at just how thirsty I was before setting off across more hideous fields to Thornton in Craven. A slight hack up Elslack Moor was a delightful break from the mud, but it isn’t long before you return to the mudplugging once again. Lynne saw me in Thornton in Craven with a much much needed coffee, new gloves and food - by this time, I was surviving on food stops and not eating or drinking on the walk at all, figuring it was more intelligent to keep warm hands and eat as much as I could when I saw Lynne. Truth be told, I was feeling full and sick both at the same time, and couldn’t face all that much food at all. She walked with me a way before I disappeared into the dark cow fields, and I spent the next eternity contemplating how much I hated walking through ankle deep mud and slurry with cold iceblocked feet.
It was only about  another 8km to Gargrave - 18 altogether from Cowling. Not long at all, but it felt like a very very long time. Even reccying it before it wasn’t that bad. It was in the dead of night, and it was the knowledge of seeing Lynne again that kept me going.

At Gargrave, at 2am, it became apparent that it was turning colder, and Lynne couldn’t guarantee that she would see me from now until the end - depending on snow levels, ice, and flooded roads. So I loaded up on food, batteries, put on a primaloft layer for extra insulation and walked off into the cold night. The section from Gargrave to Malham went past Airton, which I could imagine was flooded. The river is pretty close to the banks at the best of times, and with the amount of precipitation recently I was fully expecting swollen rivers, burst banks and road diversions.
I wasn’t sure if I’d be happier if there was a diversion onto a road - underfoot it would be nicer - but the metal lugs in the orocs were beginning to push into my feet and make things a bit uncomfortable.
Along the river into and past Airton, it was clear that although the river was very swollen, the path which *had* been very obviously underwater at some point in the recent past was now, not. Trudge through mud. Toes frozen. The songs in my head had now expanded to include “one finger one thumb keep moving”, and nessun dorma… I was beginning to get to the point of really wanting this to finish.

From a previous recce, Malham had been the end of our third day, the fourth day of the recce was Malham to Horton - so in my head I was really getting towards the end. However, I won’t beat around the bush - I was knackered. I knew that my left hip wasn’t working right, my shoulders were killing me, a considerable pain was happening in my left tricep tendon from using the poles more than I have done in many years, feet were sore, and my hands cold, and as I came down into Malham at about 4am I caught a tip of the lovely poles I was borrowing between a couple of paving slabs and snapped the end. (sorry John). Luckily, it was just the tip - very replaceable. Even more luckily, Lynne was about half a mile down the way with a spare pole. As I say, I really really couldn’t have done this without her.

I hadn’t really been expecting to see her, but it was a real bonus, from here on in, I had no idea where I would see her - but there was a checkpoint at Malham tarn that I was aiming to get to… New pole taken on, change of gloves, and off again up to the cove, and the toil up to the top. I had never before gone across the top, so it was a bit like picking out a line across incredibly slippy limestone on top of a very big drop, in the dark, in the rain, with a strong wind. Nothing like a bit of a challenge… I skittered my way over, using my poles to balance me, and trusting the dobs on the shoes to stop me from slipping into the massive holes between the rocks. Soon enough, I managed to get onto the grass that led up to Ing Scar.

Photo from Lynnes van
At this point I noticed that the rain was looking a bit white as it went past my headtorch beam. I tried to keep my head straight - it was probably not snow yet. That wasn’t going to happen for a while. The argument in my head as to whether it was or was not snow probably carried me on for a decent quarter of an hour before I decided to have a closer look at my gloves - yes, indeed, the “rain” landing on my gloves was indeed white, and sticking -  a lot more like snow than rain. Ah, it is snowing after all. I followed the scar up, wading through puddles and generally just keeping on keeping on, and up ahead, in the midst of a massive amount of snow falling from the sky - it had gone from a bit to a crap load in a very short time - there was a set of headlights. What? Lynne is up here? No, surely not - thats just idiocy.
Yes she was - just checking in on me, making sure I knew I was going in the right direction, before hurrying
At Malham tarn from the van
off the hill, through increasing flurries of snow. I trudged on with snow blasting my back. Even though I had waterproof trousers on over my shorts, I was finally beginning to feel the cold on my legs. Maybe at Malham tarn checkpoint it would be time to put on a pair of thermal leggings and a dry pair of socks. - ok, they wouldn’t stay dry for long, but at least they would give me a bit of warmth for a short time.
Snow kept coming down and I continued to the checkpoint, stumbling through the door at 5:30am looking pretty much like a snowman. So far I'd been on the go for about 21.5 hours and covered 135km. There was so much snow on my bag that one of the guys at the CP thought it worth taking a picture of! (no, I don't have a copy...)

I took time out to have some hot sweet tea, some Kendal mint cake and put on those thermal leggings. I think I was there for about 45mins, changed my head torch battery - there was no way I was going to be losing light on Fountains fell because I didn’t change a battery… and with a cheery smile to the checkpoint guys, strolled out into the snow. (I didn’t say “I may be some time”, but in hindsight, it might have been appropriate).

The snow was still coming down pretty hard as I headed out across to the road before Fountains Fell. One of the original plans was that I would meet Lynne there before my assault on the hill - with 5-7 cm of snow on the road, there was no way that was going to happen, so I battered across the snowy road, and up through the field onto the fell. The snow was coming down hard, the wind was gusting, and the winding path meant that it was blasting into my face. Snow on the ground was drifting up to about 1.5 foot, the path was totally indistinguishable to non-path - which was essentially bog. The only way I could vaguely make out which way to go was a breadcrumb trail on my watch from a previous recce with Lynne - on which we had to leave the trail in order to not get stampeded by cattle. Great.
I think I lost a lot of time here. I was far enough from checkpoint 1.5 (about 5-6km) that going back would take just as long to get over the top of Fountains. I couldn’t follow my footprints back, as they were filling in as fast as I could make them, the footprints of the runners before me were either indistinct or obliterated. The snow was so hard and heavy I could just about make my feet and my watch. Hands were frozen, even in 2 sets of mitts with hand warmers, feet were frozen and I began to wonder what the hell I was doing there, and, more importantly, how the heck I was going to get out of this situation.
The only line worth pursuing, for me, was up. It was going to get light soon,(or at the very least - at some point in the future) and that would help immensely, not only that, but the path *should* become more distinct once I was nearer the top. Going back down would have been an exercise in futility. It would have been a very long time before I could have got any help or shelter, and by that time, I could have already been over this hill, and potentially the next one.

Step by step, I stumbled my way up - on the path, off the path, on hard ground, on soft. Just horrendous. My right thumb grew so cold that I had to pull it into the main body of my right mitt, effectively stopping me from being able to grip my walking pole - so I had to modify my way of holding the pole with a frozen hand inside 2 drenched mitts, while trying to walk and navigate through some of the worst conditions I’ve been out in. Slowly, things began to lighten. I could see more than just the small circumference of my headtorch - the path did indeed become more distinct, the snow slackened, but the wind did not, and finally, as dawn broke, I crawled over and down Fountains Fell - covered in snow, slush and ice walking into a massive headwind. 25 hours into the race - it was just going on 8am.
Slowly and painfully I made my way down the hill to the road toward Dale head, hoping, praying that the wind was too strong and there would be a diversion around, not over Pen-y-ghent. My hope was that there was a car down at Dale Head with lovely people saying  - no- of course you don’t have to go over… that would be faaar too dangerous. My feet splatted through the snowy slush in the half-light, and I followed the now very visible footprints of the 3 racers who had come this way before me.

The road in the morning- it was waaay worse the night before... there is an amazing pic of my bag encased in snow, but one of the safety team has it on their camera... if you were at CP 1.5 and have that pic, could you drop me a line?
Getting to Dale Head, 8:50am, I was disappointed. No car. No apparent diversion. Well - I would follow these footsteps, hoping against hope that they would do the sensible thing in high winds and not go over the top.
Up and up, past the turning where the steps emphatically did NOT turn left, but continued resolutely to the top of the hill. Powerful wind was threatening to push me off the hill, slide my feet across the icy steps, but there was nothing else to do but dig in and go up. Suffer better.
Although it was now light, and I could see everything, my hands were still frozen my gloves had been on for hours now, and there was no way I was going to take them off as I don’t think I could have got them back on again. I tried to turn off my headtorch, but with no luck - so just carried on regardless.
Coming off Pen y Ghent - thanks to Racing Snakes for the pics

This was actually the easiest bit... I could see where I was going, and I didn't have 2 hills to climb

The scramble to the top of Pen-y-Ghent was, let’s say, special - more technical than Fountains, but no-where near as concerning, in the grand scheme of things. The wander down was interrupted by the guys from Racing Snakes and Summit Fever photographers taking pictures - I can’t say I was actually in any mood to have a chat, and made my way down the hill in a very very slow and painful way.

Lynne was there to meet me about 1km from Horton, and it was a real relief… I’ve really broken the back of this now… not far to go, but unfortunately, the most tedious bit still lay ahead.
Down towards Horton in Ribblesdale
Thankfully though, I had got over Fountains - perhaps the worst point of the entire race, deep dark, sleep deprivation, crazy winds, snow, no tracks. That was quite something.

I stopped off at the Mountain Rescue truck in Horton in Ribblesdale at 1020 - 27 hours and 20 mins on the clock.
Now THAT is restoration! Thanks to Oldham MRT for this stop
I wolfed down another hot, sweet tea and some biscuits before heading off up and across the final stretch.

Lynne insisted I stop so she could take a photo of me and the view.
Holy hell. I don’t think anything I can write can actually give you any idea of just how long and soul destroying it is. You wander along some fairly innocuous trails, which would be okish had you not already come all this way, torrents of rivers, with massive puddles to wade through, mile upon mile of slush to wade through, constant cold, more cold.
Imagine this. Forever. But worse. That's what it felt like.
The knowledge that you are gaining height, just to lose it again before going up Cam high road - the most godforsaken place in the world (except Fountains Fell about 4 hours previously).
It went on forever. I ran through the final sections of the route in my head again and again. Up ahead there were people… no - thats a cairn. Yes - hallucinations are beginning. Fabulous.
I must have seen about 6 people up there that turned out to be bits of gate and tree, and it wasn’t until the final left turn toward Dodd fell that I finally saw a car that didn’t turn into something else- 2 people emerged from it and offered me flapjack, some water and kind words as they walked along with me, which gave me a massive boost - I hadn’t eaten or drunk since Horton - I was running on willpower alone. All thought of muscle power had gone. Sheer force of wanting to finish was keeping me going. I was shivering as I walked, borderline hypothermic, and not in a good way.
This all had to end soon - but there was still an awful long way to go. 8km down toward Ten End - I thought there was nothing more that this race could throw at me.

Then, enter stage left, huge gusts of wind and hail the size of fingernails. Great. Thanks for that. It slammed into me, and I kept going. I’ve come this far, there is NOTHING that is going to stop me now. As I remember reading somewhere, there is always something to burn - even if its brain cells.

On and on and on. Slowly trudging - the 3 leading guys from the Spine- the long race came past me just as I reached the long, long awaited right turn onto and around Ten End. They were moving well - as if they’d run about 30 miles. I was most envious.

Down through the snow and slush and mud, the interminable plod continued. It took an age to get down through the fields - on each one I was hoping and praying that it was the one that led me to the final road, and eventually, it was.
The last soggy field. I cannot describe the relief that I didn't have to go through any more of these, or get pelted by any more hail.
Eventually I passed through the gate onto hard, solid ground. The last of the hail had hit me. I was a few km from the finish, it was nearly all over. Down the road, and across the way, Lynne is standing there waving - a couple more fields go by in a blur (not, I must hasten to add because of the speed I was moving). Through 2 more horrible, horrible cold and boggy undrained fields, then finally, only hardpack to go.
I was trying to smile and be happy here. Really.
My speed was now woeful. The final 22km had taken 5 hours. Had someone else come in to overtake me, I would have gladly let them. My speed was fixed, and I hobbled, accompanied by Lynne, slowly and painfully into Hawes.
Spent. Burnt out. Done.
Thanks Caroline for this shot of Lynne and I at the end
32 hours, 10 minutes. 108 miles.

That’ll do for the moment, I think I might leave “things I’ve learnt” and “injuries” until the next post… If you got this far, well done! It took a while to write and collate, but I hope you enjoyed it. 
If you're interested, the vast majority of the route is on my strava profile - but I missed some of it because of glove issues. I hope to get a full gpx trail from my tracker, but not sure if it is a possibility. 

If any of the people whose photos I have used object to me using them, please do let me know - I think I’ve asked everyones permission, but my brain is still a bit fried. 


  1. Great write up. I thought about you poor sods as we drove over Holme Moss for the Trigger. It was grim enough in the car.

  2. I knew Fountains would have been bad and now I know it was! I was practically yelling at the little dot on the tracker whilst you were there ..'keep going! tough it out!' and you did. Loved reading this, brought it to life. when are we going to the Pub?

  3. Well done Tim. What an achievement! Great writ up as ever.

  4. Bloody well done Tim. I did the PW last May in snow and hail took me three days to get to Hawes. Once again well done..