21st April 2020 AUTHOR: dwhite CATEGORIES: Event Report

Respect the Bob

Myself and Kris Hopkins decided some time ago to take a crack at the Bob Graham round. For anyone who doesn’t know what that is I will paint a quick pic.
Bob Graham round is a 66 mile run to be completed in 24 hours, simple. Add to that 27000ft of climbing over 42 peaks (mountains) that is almost the height of Everest. The average peak is around 700 meters, which is the height of 9 blocks of high rise flats on top of each other. 

Back to the beginning

July 21st 2019 4 am Sunday morning. My car is full of running kit along with 3 loonies who have no idea what they are about to let themselves in for. I myself have always wanted to take this challenge on but as for Kris and Tim I’m sure I talked them into it.

Leg 1 begins in Keswick at moot hall and at 7:30am we are all ready to go……. nah both Kris and Tim need the toilet. Eventually we set of weighed down with enough supply’s to last a week. Before we know it we are emerging from a park at the foot of the first mountain, at which point Kris screams out and leaps into the air as if he has been attacked by a lion. Turns out he was stung by a wasp. After a little bit of moaning and groaning we set off again. Within minutes we are no longer running but walking and making our way towards the first peak. Some serious climbing and yomping is needed and the conversation begins to slow. It is probably good to note that local runners were flying past us with very little effort. 
After almost an hour of climbing we near the top of what we think is the first peak only to discover we had taken the wrong path and were climbing the wrong peak. Little did Kris and myself know this would become normal procedure for us, if there is a wrong route we will take it and if there isn’t a wrong route we will find one. 
Finally after a little trek back to a gate we reroute and reach the peak (skidaww}. The view is amazing and worth the effort but the one thing about this challenge is that you are not up long before your going back down again but that’s the fun part. I have to say there no better feeling than throwing yourself down the side of a mountain as fast as your legs can go.

After a quick decent we were comfortably running across open fell land with the occasional boggy patch to cool our feet and before we knew it were climbing again. This time we encounter another one of those weird things that makes this challenge, a pointless out and back to the top of a peak {Great Calva}. Strangely we made the top of this peak easier and now had to choose our route off and down. What a surprise we choose the wrong route through the heather which becomes increasingly higher and higher as we near the bottom. No sooner are we down than we have to pick our route back up the next climb. Of course if there is a choice of route then ….. yes you guessed it we go wrong , wrong and wrong again before eventually finding the correct line and so begins what I personally think was the toughest climb of the day (Mungrisedale common). It’s a climb that is on open fell with high grass and at a stiff gradient, keeping moving is difficult here. It is also a climb to nowhere and just a point of reference to get you to the next peak which you can just make out in the distance once you reach the top.

More running across rough fell was required and a route choice was needed. This time however the route is so obvious even we didnt go wrong and encountered our first bit of scree (Loose slate like rock). After some more climbing, walking, yomping we reach the top only to find out it was a further 400 meters or so to the actual peak {Blencathra}. The views where magnificent and there was a very strong wind. All that was left to do was to descend via Halls fell, which is steep, rugged and technical. It was at this point that my fear of heights kicked in, something I hadn’t shared with my running pals until this moment. I refused to take this route and under the lead of Kris we took a longer more shallow decent.

As we followed this route it began to pull away from the direction we where meant to be going and  Kris decided it would be a good time to find a short cut via doddicks fell and doddicks Gill. Once again another one of those moments where route choice is something we are just not good at.

As we made our way down the side of the mountain things became steeper and more and more covered in bracken and nasty scratchy thorn type bushes. I think it was at this point Tim Gave up listening to us and found his way down quickly whilst Kris and myself continued to punish ourselves with more scrapes and bruises. Once we finally hit the bottom and make our way along the gill back to the route it became apparent that not many people pass through this way.

Finally we reach the road and make our way along a footpath to the village of Threlkeld and enjoy a much deserved beer.

Paul Wray

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