Sunday, 27 January 2013

No 5 That's Lythe

I wasn't sure what to expect from this event, especially in terms of the weather. After heavy snow on Friday Preston had seen a massive thaw and it had all disappeared here, although not in Wigan where we orienteered on Saturday night. How much snow would be left and would there be any ice? Then there was the forecast with some heavy rain and strong winds. Hmm. In the end I need not have worried. The worst on the snow or slush was as we left Kendal and although the wind was fierce on the tops the rain did not materialise. I knew the first mile or so would feel hard as we headed along the river and then up through town to the golf course.

 The tracks were torrents of snow melt and the fields in the very bottoms were lakes. I pressed on at the first checkpoint at Crossthwaite- and then fouund I was hungry. Once out of the farms on heading up to Whitbarrow the running was lovely although I was reduced to a walk on some of the climbs. The memorial cairn was not a place to linger but I was thankful we did not have driving rain.

 The view over the estuary and Morecambe Bay was fantastic but straight into the sun (yep we really did have sun). The descent towards Witherslack seemed steep and slippy but was soon over. Then comes a wierd little loop to take us all the the village hall. This time I did go in and even had a cup of tea and some quiche. This is the only section where I made slight nav errors the second of which meant I had to overtake Wendy. We quickly passed Gilpin bridge and started a section on lanes to get us north of Levens.

 Long straight lanes are not my favourite but they did allow us to maintain a good pace and I hooked up with three others and had a chat. Checkpoint 3 was in someones garage and the route continued through there garden. Here I lost my companions as they powered ahead up the hill and then I had to stop to get a stone out of my shoe.
(still need to practice with arms length photos!)

 After the next road I was on familiar territory and enjoyed the views back over the flooded valley to Whitbarrow. Gary had joined me by now and was keen to hang on once he realised that I knew the way.

 Regaining all our height onto Helsington barrow was not too bad and I knew that once we turned east it was all down hill. There was a rainbow over the valley and Scout Scar looked impressive.

The paths was a little slippy but the racecourse path was easy and then the road. Downhill on  this was harder than I expected and I was relieved to gain the main road and head through the park to the river. From there it was only a few minutes to the hall. It took longer than I expected at 4 hours 23 but job done, almost. I handed in my tally and then went back outside before I could get too comfortable. Another 4 miles ot so to add. I followed the river path as far as a huge flood, crossed the river and tried the other side for a bit, came back to the left bank and headed back to the hall. I must have been running slowly because I was getting chilly. Once my garmin showed 4+ miles had been clocked I was grateful to stop. 27.6 miles. The food was very welcome and I even managed to hitch a lift home. Thank you Mick.

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