Miffed that after a glorious week the weather was going to turn but hey ho. It was my first LDWA 100 and won't be my last. I was irritated at not knowing what food to expect as minimum at different CPs and so opted to carry far more of my own food than I needed to really.
|Possibly the biggest meringue I have ever eaten- Corbridge on Friday|
|Sycamore Gap Hadrian's wall in the sun|
We had not been informed what would be in these and I wasn't very impressed. I know it's not easy to please everyone but pepperami? two small tomatoes? a kids lollypop? and a bun sandwich that I had to unwrap to identify the contents.
|The other Karen Nash, also 29.5.1961|
A flag bearing procession led them through the park and across the busy road. I then checked out various routes from the start and onto the course as we would be starting from the school. I tried to go for a lie down but wasn't tired enough. I ate, drank and then chatted to others starting later like Matt N, Kevin H, the Barry boys, Jamie, Kevin S and more.
Well before 1pm we were ready and after a few words our small group of about 10 were waved on our way. Before we had left the edge of the town we were fairly spread out and I found myself running with Matt. We did much of the Northern Traverse together and he is good company. We chatted as we ran and this reassured me that we were not going off too fast.
|Only a few miles in|
|Roman temple - not race day|
|Nice grass path by wall- from recee|
|A mile castle|
|The bits to avoid by taking the military road|
From memory it was dry all the way to CP at Haltwhistle but I may be forgetting the odd shower. We left the wall at Cawfield and joined the Haltwhistle Burn path which follows the line of an old rail line through the gorge and some mining. By now we were catching lots of others and the path was getting quite crowded. Luckily CP was in a leisure centre hall and so there was plenty of room. We stopped for tea, soup and sandwich. We had no pact of sticking together but for now were happy to do so. The tricky bits on routes are often through towns but I knew the way and we soon crossed the railway, the Tyne and the A69. The section through the blue bell woods at Bellister was pretty but quite undulating. After Park Village we joined the South Tyne Trail. This follows and old rail track and would take us all the way to Alston. I am not a fan of these trails as you can usually see ahead for miles, there is little variety and it makes me feel like I should be running hard. In fairness this trail was quite varied with sections of tarmac, some softer surfaces and then some awful hard core alongside the steam railway.
|Glad we didn't need to drop all that way|
|Less than 48 hours earlier|
|Greg's Hut on a fine day in daylight|
|What you should have seen at High Cup Nick|
We knew it would be a steep plod up to High Cup Nick but at least it let the food settle.Nearing the top we really had to concentrate as visibility was less than 2m and despite us both knowing the way in theory it was easy to miss the path either where there are multiple mini paths or sections of peat and rocks. This section cost us time and we didn't even manage 4mph. In daylight the big bridge across Maize Beck is easy to find but we almost missed the flagstones that lead to it and didn't see the bridge until we were almost on it. Then came the lumpy section with not much of a path. It was almost a relief to join the big track that would take us to Birkdale Farm and our next CP.
This farm is the highest inhabited farm in England. The CP was in a big barn and we were welcomed with hot soup and offers of much more food. Kevin caught us here. He had found the nav over High Cup Nick even more of a challenge as he didn't know the area but was in his usual good spirits. It was still raining. On the plus side it was getting lighter and we were soon able to turn our torches off. The rain continued and probably got heavier and the wind was a bit stronger.
|I did not divert to see Cauldron Spout this time|
|Turning off to waters meeting|
|More churches than houses in this valley|
I didn't mind the climb up to Coldberry End but the track down to Cowshill was painful.
|Even in the sun it was gnarly on my feet|
|Not race day|
I did enjoy the grassy track leading down to Allenheads and my feet seemed OK once I got going. With that in mind I got scanned at the CP but did not go inside. I was slow stomping back uphill but tried to run when I could.
|I wonder how many people spotted this climbing out of Allenhead|
|Or this climbing out of Allendale Town|
|My nav marker- the tree notch on the skyline (Blue sky from recee)|
|Bob on recee in Dipton Woods|
|The Standing Stone|
It took a while to recover but the free beer helped and the curry was great. A hot shower and we were soon ready to drive home.
It might have been my first LDWA 100 but I hope it won't be my last. Now time to check out where the next ones are.