Tuesday, 7 July 2015


After a fairly easy week where the running mostly involved children and short orienteering courses I felt my body had recovered from the Lakes 10 Peaks and was ready for the SLMM. The event centre was Torver and we were going up on Friday afternoon as usual to help with the parking (well Bob was; I did not seem to be needed this year).

 It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and I wandered the field chatting until it was time to visit the local pub to use their wifi and complete a race entry. Back in the field I registered, studied my old map from the Coniston event and worried about the weather forecast. Many friends would not appear until Saturday morning opting for a night in their own beds and an early start. Given the weather forecast of lightning, thunder and downpours this was perhaps a wise decision. My sleep in the van was rudely disturbed by one enormous crack of thunder. No rumbling warnings just an almighty bang. Otherwise I slept quite well and tried to ignore Bob getting up early to start Saturday morning car park duty. When I did emerge it was to a warn dry day but with very low cloud. Navigation was going to be tricky!

 Carmine and Jenny arrived and I hoped they would not regret my success in begging them a last minute entry. There seemed to be a huge queue for map collection but it moved fast once we were in the tent and people realised there was only one map correction- a bridge almost at the start. My 'frequent' MM partner arrived with her sister and we walked to the start together; it was good to catch up. A key aspect of Klets is that it is a solo course with the added challenge of deciding what order to visit controls and unlike most score events knowing that you must visit all of them.  My first control was easy nav following the wall and stream which was good for building confidence. This then immediately took a little knock when en route to CP2 I found a wall/sheepfold that was not on the map. The next leg was longer but I used my time on Walna scar road to plan my attack. Contouring with a slight downhill- so easy to get wrong. I prayed that I would know when i crossed the stream and not miss it or confuse it with another. Luckily I had caught up Kirsty who took longer to mark up her map and navigate to CP2. She had an altimeter and the confidence of this and two brains let us run harder. We both then headed off to Goats Hause and Brim Fell. At some point we wordlessly acknowledged that we were in this together for a while. The drop off Brim Fell was a bit iffy in the mist and we did not find the control immediately. We did not know it at the time but from here competitors made several order and route choices. To me the obvious route was to two controls on the north side of Grey Friars. Looking at the map later I can see why others decided to carry on down to Levers Water and collect the two SE controls early on. It was a stiff climb up to Brim Fell but then a good path contouring below Swirl How and round Calf Cove. In retrospect I should have gone to the further control first but in the end it perhaps made little difference. The clag and tired legs over rough ground were starting to slow me down. Once back at the col I had the best running of the day down from Great carrs, collecting one control and then aiming for Wrynose. Again I wish I had gone for the western control first as the path would have meant a better attack point. The next two were in Greenburn valley and it was slow going over boggy ground. Then even slower as I climbed to Prison Band and Kirsty pulled away. I found the CP quickly but then in my tired and hungry state made a stupid mistake. With my map folded I was convinced I needed to go to 113 and ran fast downhill towards Levers water.

 Luckily I was desperate for the loo and stopped before I descended too far. Idiot, once my map opened it was obvious that 113 was on the side of Brim Fell. I was now on my own and off route. I lost more time storming back up and over Sunlight Crag when really I should probably have carried on down and used the path. It gave me an unusual route to the last real CP of the day. Yewdale was lovely but I was tired and there was nobody but me to decide the pace to Tilbertwaite and the overnight camp. My silly errors had allowed Kirsty to overtake my overall time but at least I had finished and enjoyed my day.

Lesson learnt- just because the weather improves don't stop thinking, when you need a wee stop straight away so your brain is not distracted and carry a small pen to tick off controls visited. Bob met me at download and kindly filled my water bottle while I waited for milk. He had also saved me a nice camping spot next to his tent and Rowena.

The warm sunny weather made for a glorious evening camp. It was very sociable with Julie and Tony coming to camp nearby and then Peter and Steve too. Carmine and Jenny appeared and although jenny found it very different to anything she had done before I hope she enjoyed it.

The evening was spent eating, chatting and wandering the camp until the sun went behind the hill. It never really got dark and even at midnight it was bright enough to walk thanks to the full moon. Sadly one control that was on the Klets course had been stolen on Friday. It affected those who went that way early in the day, not me. Because of our varied routes etc this gave the organisers a real headache but in the end they used their best judgement and gave time to those who had lost time searching the best they could. Tony had given up and gone for a long walk collecting CPs and also peaks. Chris BH had gone home to his family.

I slept quite well and was pleased to see the weather was still good. After a quick trip to the toilet and another to collect control descriptions I stayed zipped up in the tent avoiding the midges. Those of us not in the chasing start could begin any time after 8.05 and there was quite a queue meandering up out of the valley floor to the track onto the hillside. Most courses seemed to go north and I found myself alone in Yewdale. It should be very runnable but I was struggling to get my legs in gear so it was run a bit walk a bit. Just before the col over to Coniston Claire appeared and we ran together to the control on the old mine chimney before she gradually pulled away as we climbed from Levers water to Levers Hause. I found this very steep and hard going and before long two others had also caught me up. Eventually we reached the top and it was another run along the path below Great Carrs and then back to Calf Cove. Once we were on the path my legs picked up a little and I was able to stick with Tony.
Thanks to ony for his company and photos
The control on Knots was easy and we opted for the steep descent to Tarn Head Beck and then the path around Seathwaite tarn. I knew the next control would be tricky and we used the stream from Saturday to check before searching for the correct rocky spur.  We found it quite quickly but in the mist it would have been a nightmare. Scott came running past and David W joined us along with Kirsty.

The drop to Blind tarn was easier than I expected and we were soon running to two controls between the quarries south of the Old Man. Only 3 controls left! The first was easy but we wasted time on both the others. Tony almpst forgot the final control on a stile ( a mistake that would cause Oli to be disqualified) and then there was just the final rocky lane and the event field.  I thought 4 hours 11 was quite good until I saw that the winner had completed in 2 hours 48! Ah well.

Overall results show me 13th of 26 starters, 3rd vet and only 30 mins down on Kirsty over the two days. What is really great is two other women doing the Klets this year whereas for the last 3 years I have been the only one.

I ate my post race meal with Tony, Rowena and Jennifer and then waited for a post race massage and the prize giving. By 3ish we were ready to go and we left the field as the first of the heavy rain arrived. Not a bad weekend at all.

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