Wednesday, 7 October 2015


Dropping off Great End towards control 3

The 61st Lake District Mountain Trial
Borrowdale 13.9.15

Trial!.... That was more like purgatory. Only joking, the 2015 Lake District Mountain Trial (LDMT) was one of the hardest but most enjoyable events that I have done and that was just the Medium Trial. Massive respect to those doing the Classic(long) Trial.

 Usually the LDMT falls too close to the Rab Mountain Marathon for me to enter. My legs are not strong enough, to do two big events so close together. No Rab MM for me this year, meant I had the chance to enter this classic. Silver linings and all that.
 Disappointment at missing the Rab MM, was well and truly blown out of my mind, up on Rossthwaite Fell and Glaramara. This was not a consolation race. It was the 'dogs danglies'

On the way to control 2

This is how The 2015 LDMT happened, from inside my head.
A relatively relaxed start. I drove up the night before stopping at The Caledonia Guest House in Penrith. Like I said relatively relaxed; no early morning, get up and long drive to the startline, just the usual sleepless night, of pre race excitement and self doubt.

Start line butterflys are tamed, slightly, by chatting to Adam (Adams Race report). The butterflys had been well and truly radged up by looking at the entry list. It's a who's who of fell running ledgends; Nicki Spinks, Joss Naylor, Wendy Dodds, Steve Birkinshaw, Helene Whitaker, Rhys Findlay-Robinson.
I really am 'not worthy'.

The butterflys are released as I dib at the start-line and run towards Stonethwaite. Friendly Marshals, marshal us across the road and issue us with pre marked maps.
Up on to the fells and into the clag. A steep and slipery path leads me to my first navigational error. Apart from time stood still, checking where I went wrong, it doesn't loose me much time. It is still annoying and unnerving.
A few of us concertina together. In spite of starting at timed intervals, the clag and confusing ground cause us to bunch up. Slowing or stopping to concentrate on map and compass, lets later starters catch up. Some converging from unexpected  directions (at least I am not the only one taking the scenic line).
After a few false hopes, the Crag Foot, of control #1, looms out of the miasma. That's better. It always feels good, to get the first one. The butterflys can now go back into hibernation, till the next start-line.

A fellow LDMTer 

The nav for control #2, Boulder at the bottom of Allan Crags Ghyll, is much easier, especially as the clag has lifted. The low cloud is clearing but there is still just enough to add a little drama to the views.
Steep and tricky underfoot, the descent to the valley floor means one thing. The only way is up.
 A short but steep climb up to Esk Hause

Half way up to Esk Hause
Looking back down Langstrath
On the Esk hause path, a small herd of grinning fellrunners come hurtling downhill towards me. At first I think they are LDMTers. It turns out to be Jim and friends Running every day in 2015 for Parkinsons uk. Good on ya Jim!

Still on the path, I chat to the lady above. I mention that most events I do are score courses, as opposed to line courses like the LDMT. She says that "Line courses can be less stressful, because you are not clock watching, so you can enjoy the day more". Which makes me smile. I think that is a great way to look at things.

My legs are tired, my back hurts and so does my brain. All I want to do is sit down, somewhere comfy, have a nice cuppa tea and to plan the rest of my route properly. Failing that, give up and go home.
 I tell myself to 'stop being mardy'. I am almost at control #3 out of 6, nearly half way. Turning back wont be much less painful than carrying on. Wrong! My foot slips between two rocks. The rocks are much harder than my shin. Ouch!.

'Woo hoo!' I make a good route choice to control #3 Tarn, just below Great End. A lovelly spot with beautiful views across The Corridor Route towards Great Gable. Wow!

Happy again. Down and up again. Down to Styhead Pass and up towards the col, between Great Gable and Green Gable.
Bad route choice/Nav error two. Maybe I was enjoying, running down the scree, too much or maybe I am just a muppet. The result is, instead of following the Mosses Trodd, round to contro #4 Innominal Tarn. I do a down and up. Wasting both time and precious energy. When I realise my error, half way down Brown Tongue, I am annoyed with myself. A bit fed up but resigned to my fate. 'Ho hum'. I plod on stoically. Steve Birkinshaw  passes me, on the way up Loft Beck. He hasn't made an error, he is on a different course(the long/classic).

Control #5 is a straightforward, one and a half k shuffle. Friendly marshals take my race number and offer words of encouragement. From here it is all downhill to control #6 and the finish. Normally. I love descending but tired legs take some of the fun out of it. It doesn't matter, I am on the 'run in' now. As always the run in seems to take forever.

At last the finish line. All finishers are treated to live commentary. I am too kippered, to take in what the man on the mike says. I am just glad to stop running.
I have now stopped running but can't stop grinning. I am not the only one. There are lots of happy faces.

Checking the finishing positions, this may have been one of my worst results, but it has been one one of the most enjoyable events, that I have done.
This has been my first LDMT, I am sure it wont be my last.

 A very big thank you to all who made the 2015 LDMT happen. A true classic

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