Sunday, 4 November 2012

Hell for heather

              Rab Mountain Marathon 2012, the Cheviots

Ray and I started out doing Dark and White's Mini MMs in the Peak District, so wandering around and getting lost at the other end of the Penines, seemed like a good idea.  

Looking on the interweb the Cheviots appeared similar to the Peak, just a bit bigger, bleaker, emptier and that's how it was. Bigger, bleaker, emptier, and sunnier. Yes, the good folks at Dark & White, had  arranged another Rab MM weekend of good weather. How do they do that? Pact with the devil, sacrifice a virgin on the second Tuesday of the month. Who knows? We were grateful all the same.

The Cheviots were also much heatherier. Soft underfoot but very trip-upable

On your marks, set, collect your maps, control descriptions, plan your route and ......GO!

The first two controls went well, maybe too well. On the way to our third checkpoint, I switched off. Everything looked good, we picked up a footpath and ahead of us we could see a line of MMers. Unfortunately it was the wrong footpath and the people wearing running tights and carrying rucksacks, were not heading to the same control as us.

Sorry Ray, that one was all  my fault. Being a score event it didn't matter too much but it was a reminder that I am a numpty and should concentrate harder.

We got our own back later on, by leading a group daft enough to follow us, to the wrong crag.

On the way to one we got right

On the edges of the Cheviot

Turn right at the crashed Quad bike, for the most picturesque control of the weekend

'I believe that its called al fresco'

Hanno introduces George, a fellow Nederlander  to the galmorous world of Mountain Marathons

Day one over, time to fire up the Pocket Rocket and to enjoy the delights of dehydrated food.

It turned out to be my comfiest, mountain marathon overnight camp so far. The tussocky grass was most luxurious. It was bloody cold in the morning though and day two started with a dusting of frost coating our tent.

Day two went well, once we thawed out. Our overnight camp was down in a valley, so the sun didn't share its warmth until we were well on our way.
No dramas just a slight wobble/lack of confidence, going from Easter Tor to control 44. I knew where we were and where we wanted to be. It was how to get there that was the problem. A  prompt from a fellow competitor and suddenly, the contour lines on the map, looked like the view in front of us. Tks mate.

Ray heather bashing with the Cheviot in the background.

As usual, we took a conservative route and arived back at the finish line with over an hour to spare. We could have picked up a few more points on the way but Sunday dinner was calling.
 All in all a good weekend

      Other highlights and randoms:

  • Catching up with Kate and Jane. I have missed Tea and Cake

  • Sundays Stovie(stew). The meat version and the veggie one went down well with Ray and I.

  • Some great place-names like Hedgehope Hill and Bizzle Crag.

  • Chatting with the flying Dutchmen Hanno and George. 

  • Learned a new mm top tip. Sleep with the gas canister in your sleeping bag. It will work better when warm.

Many thanks to all those who helped make it happen. Especially the good folks at Dark and White Events


  1. Hello Steve, I think there is a big difference between your mountain marathons and what we have here. I think that you have to be very foccused in navigating using a map, compass (am I right?). Here the type of races we do have a clearly marked paths (in spite of that sometimes I get lost!).
    Nice story.

    1. Hi Miguel
      Yes Mountain marathons the emphasis is on navigation but there are all sorts of other fell races.

  2. Looks a blast mate! I'll be at the D&W Rab MM on 19/12 if you're around for a catch up!


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