Friday, March 29, 2013

Howgills 26.2 recce run

The Montane Ultra 26.2 is a series of races in the North of England, all marathon distance on trails.  I was originally entered into the Grizedale 26.2 and enjoyed a recce run until I started to feel pain in my knee.  The pain didn't go away so I transferred to the Rivington 26.2.  Again, I enjoyed a recce run.  This time my knee held up well but the race was cancelled due to snow and severe wind.  So we have the option of entering the reorganised race later in the year or transferring to another event.  The next event is the Howgill 26.2 at the end of May.  We had a recce run of part of the course today.

the first part of the course is all climbing.  Here we are on Winder.  The track on the far right is where we are heading.

elevation profile - 5 miles of climbing did us in.

our route - the start and finish of the Howgills 26.2

on Winder Fell, surrounded by familiar places
The terrain to begin with was wide grassy paths.  This gave way to gravel paths, some of them quite difficult to run on due to the size of the stones.  Some were made more difficult because they were packed with snow (well it is Good Friday!).  We cut off a corner of the official course and headed more directly towards Winder.  A kind gent took a picture on top and then we headed over towards Arrant Haw, the path dropping down initially before climbing again and flanking the top.  Further up the path was packed with snow which made progress slower.

Jonathan with Winder behind him

track around Arant Haw
On the other side of Arant Haw, there was a lot more snow left.  Again, we had a short downhill before a further climb up Brant Fell, turning sharply along the fence up to Calders and then over to Bram Rigg Top.

We continued over and up to the highest point today, The Calf (676m) before deviating from the course to run across to the east and rejoin the course of the Howgills 26.2 at Low Haygarth to complete the last section.

Coming over Hare Shaw, there was a lot of snow and we had a little play around jumping into it, making snow angels etc. until I realised that this path was so much fun that we had carried on following it for too long,  We climbed back over to the high point to descent along side Cautley Spout.  We picked out a path to the left of the river and followed it along, looking back at the partially frozen Cautley Spout, the highest waterfall above ground in England.
Jonathan heading down from Arant Haw

I think this is Bram Rigg Top

The Calf trig point

From The Calf, we headed east, descending fast.  As mentioned above, we got a bit carried away on a fun path, running through the snow and we had to double back to find the drop off point to head down towards the bottom of Cautley Spout.

The snow and climbing had really wore us out.  By the time we got back on the race route, Jonathan had cramp and my knee was aching.

We carried on along the route but then decided to cross the river and join up with the road which would take us back to Sedbergh.  We ran the last few miles on the road.  Getting back with a total of about 11.5 miles run.

Cautley Crag

top of Cautley Spout

further down

As we got back into Sedbergh, I asked Jonathan if he fancied a curry.  He didn't take much persuading but I think he was a bit put out when I got my Jetboil camp stove out and warmed up a boil in the bag curry sachet.  I thought it would be good practice for the GL3d.  While Jonathan was changed and sat in the front of my car, probably cursing me, I was setting my camp stove up at the side of my car.  The actual curry was very nice.  I think I will need about 50 of them for the event!

Overall, although we really enjoyed going somewhere different and finding our way around, we agreed that the climbing at the start did us in.  I think we are going to enter the reorganised Rivington race.  It was also a windy day which made it harder but, after last week's adventure on Great Gable, we have a different understanding of windy.

The Howgills are lovely, the thing is, at least in my opinion, they are not as lovely as the Lake District.

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