I was determined not to blast off but after 15 minutes found myself with 4 guys at the front. Although the route went through places I knew I had no real idea of the route so company was good despite the little streamers that the RO had put out to help us. The fields above Settle were very muddy and the grassy moor path had huge puddles. Before the first CP at Feizor we had crossed a record number of stiles and gates - good for a breather but not so good for the legs. We nearly made a major nav error after this CP but were soon put right and on our way to Austwick. The drizzle seemed to have eased or not got going at this point and it was quite pleasant. Austwick was festooned in bunting ready for their cuckoo day but we jogged through and on towards Clapham and the next CP.
Then came the climb, along with slipperly muddy paths. There was a huge encampment of tents up at Gaping Gill where they were setting up the a pulley system. From here we climbed more steeply and the weather deteriorated badly. We also split with the two faster guys gradually pulling off into the cloud. Well before the summit I was colder than I liked but I felt so sorry for the marshall at the trig point that I stayed to chat for a couple of minutes. When I tried to run down I found everything seemed to have locked solid in the cold. It took me ages to get loosened up and Hoka man overtook me. By the time I reached the walled track I was warmer again and I found the turn off to Slatenber no problem. The next mile or so across the fields would have been tricky without the tell tales of red and white tape. There was then a section on quiet road and I worked on reeling Hoka man back in.
The paths were now more like streams all the way back to Clapham. We checked in at the carpark CP and then went back into the village to find the tunnels and Thwaite Lane. This was dry and good running all the way back to Austwick, although the downhill on steep tarmac hurt my quads. The next section through the SSSI was interesting. The path climbed what seemed an impossible amount and was very slippy with mus and wet limestone bt it was worth it for the carpet of primroses, cowslips and other flowers.
I also started overtaking walkers on the shorter route which gave me a little boost as I dropped back down to Feizor.I walked up onto the moor but knew we were on the home stretch. Despite gaiters I had stons/ grit in my shoes but ploughed on hoping I was not causing my feet too much harm. The campsite at Little Stainforth looked a little forlorn but the waterfall was impressive.
I knew this section from the Ribble Way and settled into an easy rythmn all the way back to the sports fields on the outskirts of Settle. A short section up the road and a dink through the narrow ginnel and I was back. 5 and a half hours - not too bad. The shepherds pie was lovely and I managed to wah most of the mud off my legs before the drive home.
Not many pictures as it seemed to rain most of the time I was out. I am sure the website said 26 miles, which is why I did 2 miles before we started. In the end the route was 27 so I did a little more than was strictly necessary but never mind.