Sunday, 18 October 2009

FRA Relays

18th October 2009, North West Lakes


What a difference a day makes!

Yesterday glorious sunshine; today utter pish.

An early start from Glasgow saw us eating al fresco breakfast in Cockermouth at 8.30am. Then down to Kirkland where the weather was already looking grey and dismal. By the time the race kicked off at 10.30am the clag had descended and smirry rain had moved in.

David and I took over from JD to run Leg 2 with plenty of teams to chase. We set off steady and passed about 20 teams before hitting a fence junction. I was utterly confused... There was a marshal and dibber boxes, but it wasn't our checkpoint and the marshal gave no clue as to where we were or which direction Checkpoint 1 on Leg 2 might be.

We didn't realise at the time, but in our haste we had completely overshot the point where we should have branched off towards Gavel Fell, but in thick clag we didn't realise this and now by trying to cut across the hillside we were only making matters worse by going even further off course. My head was spinning from the exertion, and I couldn't make any sense of the compass bearings or where on the map we could possibly be, since now we had flipped over onto the other side of the hill, we were in fact running away from Gavel Fell.

If we hadn't bumped into Jane Robertson and Lorna Ascroft, I don't know where we would have ended up, but instead we doubled back and climbed what I thought was Gavel Fell only to discover we were on Blake Fell, which had no marshals or checkpoint. Thoroughly cold, wet and fed up we then headed back to our previous point of confusion to pass the marshal at the fence junction a second time, and finally found our way up Gavel Fell after adding on an extra 2 miles.

From here the route was pretty obvious and we passed around another 10 or 15 teams, some of whom we were passing for the second time. We caught all 3 Carnethy teams and also passed the Westerlands ladies Cat and Ellie who seemed amused that we were appearing from behind!

The moral of the tale is to get the map and compass out sooner and actually use them, and don't just blindly follow folk up the obvious path.


Deeko said...

Tremendous route map Chris! :-) I'm glad you didn't keep going north!!

Unknown said...

Forget asking you two for directions then Chris l had you on a pedestal as wellwhen maps are concerned. Who cares great day out no doubt.

John the Jogger

Chris said...

Yes - quite alarming how far off route you can run when you completely mis-read the scale of the map they handed out at the start!

All good extra mileage though, and quite fun passing so many teams, and some of them twice!

Davie said...

Looks like you weren't alone in your difficulty.

Chris said...

Indeed! The first 3 teams were all disqualified for failing to find Checkpoint 1 on Leg 4.

And the irony of this was that David and I found this checkpoint 3 times during our stage - only it wasn't one of our checkpoints, and therefore wasn't marked on our map, and so was of no use in figuring out where we were.

David Shinn said...

Yes it was cruel entertainment for us spectators.I saw you coming back down to the fence junction after I'd wandered up over High Pen and had already seen a small pack of leg 2 runners coming up to the fence below the point of total confusion.But they veered off to the right again when it was suggested they were a bit early for leg 4! I see on the FRA forum that some are complaining that the check point had moved but it looked to be in the right place on the map.

Stewart said...

Good pictures Chris. Good to see Steffen holding off Simon Booth!

Chris said...

Stewart - Yes, it's not every day you see Steffen leading Simon Booth into the finish funnel - albeit we were just about to be lapped by Borrowdale vets!