Monday, 26 May 2014

Cafe culture

Great Lakeland 3 Day 2014

This was my first GL3Day Which describes itself as: "A small but adventurous three-day mountain marathon with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere." Which I would say is a very accurate description.
I had been aware of the GL3Day for some time but it had always been well out of my league with its original format, of 3x 25+ miles and considerable height gain. 
Luckily for me current Race organiser, Shane Ohly has tweaked this format and introduced a selection of Courses of varying distance and height gain . Elite, A, B, and new for 2014 the C or 'cafe' class.

Being a new challenge I decided to run the GL3Day as a fundraiser for Breast Cancer Care. I chose this this charity because of a lady I sadly never got to meet. My wife Nerina's mother. She lost her life to breast cancer while Nerina was still a teenager. Nerina's auntie has also been fighting and beating breast cancer over the last few years.
 If you wish to sponsor me it is not too late. You can make a donation at now. A huge Thank you to all who helped raise over £1000).

You can get a copy of Stuarts 'Weigh in Work out' DVD @Adventure in Mind

Registering on Friday night ready for the Saturday morning mass start. It felt strange to be doing a mountain marathon without my usual partner, Ray M.

I chose the C-Course and although I had put some hard training in, this would be my first three day event. I have struggled in A-Long fell races such as the Peris Horseshoe and on top of that my glass-back had been playing up. Would I be able to complete a 3 day event?

Day 1
Saturday morning we were treated to a ferry trip across a mirror calm Ulswater, from Pooley Bridge to the startline at Howtown. The boat ride gave us time for small talk, nervous introductions and for friends to catch up. 
It was a cool morning so we were all glad to get going. After a minor navigational embarrassment the C- Course took us up Wether Hill and along the ridge to Kentmere Pike. The weather was kind to us cool and overcast but with clear vis, giving us excellent views of the North Eastern Fells.
a short cut off Shipman Knotts turned into a long cut, as the path disappeared and I carefully stayed on access land.
One of the things that sets the GL3Day apart from other mountain marathons, is the overnight camp; Our camping kit was transported for us, with a 13 kg luggage allowance. A marquee with chairs and tables. Hot water, cake and a choice of three beers and one cider. Wow! This was mountain marathon, glamping style. Having the marquee really made it much more sociable as did the free beer.

Day 1 Selfie

The man-pole Beer keg chiminea

Day 2
Sunday started off with drizzle and low cloud. Proper Lakeland weather. The C-course took us from Kentmere to Easedale via Bilbos Cafe in Ambleside. I took the obvious route which stayed low level. The clag stayed down till late morning so I didn't bother climbing any extra hills as there were no views to be had until later in the day. 
Seeing a couple of Red Squirrels was a treat and so were the views at the campsite (see photos below). I will definitely return to Easedale.

The locals were friendly

Room with a view

The neighbours

Inov vs Salomon

The glamorous world of race direction

Day 3
Easedale to Howtown.
Not long after I set off, eventual Elite-course winner, Jim Man came past me. It was humbling to see him scampering up to Seat Sandal. As Jim turned into a tiny orange speck I slogged up to Grisedale Hause. There is a such world of difference between Jim and a plodder like myself.
Reaching an atmospheric Grisedale tarn, stunning views down Grisedale to Patterdale opened up and I grinned all the way down the rocky path. After that it was just a jog along the shores of Ulswater to catch the ferry back to Pooley Bridge.

pitched battle

All that is left is to say what an amazing job that RO Shane, course planner Charlie and all the marshals did. Thank you so much for your hard work. It meant that us competitors could just get out there and enjoy ourselves on the hills. it really is appreciated.
Thanks also to all the other GL3Dayers, it was great to meet you. Especially Jacq, you are a star.

Links to other GL3Day blogs/ reports

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