Tuesday, 6 January 2015

The Christmas holidays

Although these were my first days of freedom from work it was the usual school holidays and so did not feel special at first. I joined the 'oldies' on Monday to climb. Chris and I lowered the average age quite significantly. I enjoyed it until I came to write that afternoon and found my arms no longer worked. Tuesday saw me join old friends in Preston Harriers for their solstice run. (no photos here, sadly I killed my camera, permanently).The weather was foul- low cloud, heavy rain and a water-logged hillside but we had fun. I felt slow but Roy gallant as ever waited for me. It was good to chat to people in Tillotsons afterwards. Christmas eve saw Bob, Chris and I cycling the Guild Wheel. Somehow Chris, the fittest and youngest, ended up on the fastest bike? It was a glorious day and wonderful to be out.
We even managed a run on Christmas day.

Bob does have a whole left leg really.
The boys insisted they would NOT be getting up early and did not want to be woken for a walk. Bob and I drove to Pendle and had a great couple of hours. There were more people out than we expected. The weather got worse during the morning and we just made it back to the van as the rain clouds gathered and it chucked it down with rain and hail, but not before we met other fell runners in the car park and were treated to bucks fizz and brownies.

Down in Somerset we squeezed in two excursions to the Quantocks, the first for a run and the second for a walk. The run was superb with bright blue skies and very firm frosty ground. It wasn't long or fast but just a joy to be out.

 The walk was interesting as we explored away from the main ridge and took in some deep valleys.
After the New Year we took the van to the Lakes and prayed for good enough weather to allow Bob to complete his Wainwright Challenge. Friday ticked off Green Crag and Slight Side. We did not get wet but the afternoon was tiring with gale force winds. We had also made the mistake of not swapping maps as we passed the van and so went beyond Slight Side and up onto Long Green just to make sure of the summit.

 Had I not been struggling to stand up we might have taken in Scafell too. Instead we explored what we intended to be the direct line back to the van - through lumpy land of minor hills and marshes. Thank goodness for dry-socks.
We saw almost nobody either morning or afternoon. Saturday started very early in the hope we could pack lots in. On the first loop the weather was grim with low cloud and rain but we persevered and took in Middle Fell, Seatallen and Buckbarrow crag. It was good to escape into the van for shelter and food. By the time we lefty Brackenclose for the afternoon peaks the weather had perked up lots. As we left the bridlepath to Eskdale and struck up towards Illgill Head the sun came out.
Nice view to the morning's peaks, especially Buckbarrow.
It was further along the ridge than I remembered but the views were great and it made up for the wet morning.

After Whin Rigg we debated the return route. I think contouring was perhaps not the best idea in the end although it seemed favourable compared to up and over at the time.

 If Bob was going to complete this weekend I knew we had to take in Lingmell today. I knew the way as it was almost the same as one of the legs I ran on my first SLMM Klets.
We do not walk at the same speed- but it makes for some better photos
We stayed higher and only dropped to the wall at the last minute. Heading to Brown Tongue Bob was obviously tired but I pushed on, determined that we could do it today.

Looking up to Mickledore there was a good covering of frost and some snow but we stayed lower and in the fading sunshine. We made it to the summit as the sun was setting over the Cumbria coast and with amazing views in all directions.
 Despite carrying torches we did not need them. The cloudless skies kept the daylight for longer and there was a full moon. We picked up a trod heading downhill and west until we hit the main path on the ridge spur.

It was steep but we were back in the van before it was really dark.

I think we both knew that ticking of the last Wainwrights the next day was now very possible. Bob had left Yewbarrow, Red Pike and Pillar to the end. Pillar was to be the last summit.

 After an easy start along a frosty but not too slippy road we began the long pull up to the summit. Again we were blessed with great views. The northern descent was a bit steeper and rockier than I had realised and the weather started to close in.

Before Red Pike we were in low cloud and the wind got up. By the summit we were surprised to find not just frost but a thin cover of snow. It got a bit slippery but not too bad. We had left the katoolas in the van. The path to Pillar had more snow and the wind was fierce, although thankfully not as bad as when we had been on Slight Side. I raced ahead to the shelter stones. I had carried up a can of Murphies for Bob to celebrate.

It was too cold so we made do with photos at the trig point and a chat with 3 girls. Then Rosie and Graham Watson appeared so there were more congratulations and a chance to realise we were not the only people out in fell shoes and running kit. We had receieved some very strange looks over the paast days, especially today in the snow when one guy had ice axe and crampons at the ready.

 We laughed as we passed Wind Gap - not going down that way again! Part way down Black Sail we started to thaw out and slowed the pace a little.

We celebrated All the Wainwrights in Bob's 70th year with an alcoholic hot chocolate and enormous sandwiches in the pub at Wasdale Head.... and then champagne at home. A double celebration as for me the reality of not going back to work in the morning suddenly became real.Perfect timing and well deserved treats.

 It was wonderful not to spend Sunday thinking about what I would teach, to not spend the evening on last minute marking and to just relax with a shower, a meal, and to have time to sit and talk to the rest of the family and even watch TV.

1 comment:

  1. 18 Feb 2015:
    Hi Karen
    What is GRP that Bob is going for?
    What are your targeted running highlights for 2015?