Saturday, June 21, 2014

Steve Birkinshaw's Wainwright Record - The Last Leg

Steve on Cat Bells, his final Wainwright

Last night I got to witness a legend.  Joss Naylor's record for the completion of the Wainwrights was set in 1986 (when he was 50).  All week, I and many others have been tracking Steve Birkinshaw on his attempt. 

Steve's run is remarkable on many fronts, one of the most impressive things to me is the amount of planning that he has put in.  Even more remarkable is that Steve has kept so closely to the schedule, rarely dropping more than an hour over the whole 300 odd miles.

Steve was due at Newlands Haus, the top of Newlands Pass at about 6pm last night.  From this point, he would have approximately 11 miles to go, up Robinson, then picking up the route of the Anniversary Waltz fell race around to Hindscarth, Dale Head, High Spy, Maiden Moor and finally Cat Bells.  The route finishes at the Moot Hall in Keswick.

Steven, Jonathan and I, along with about a hundred others, met him at Newlands Haus for the last leg.

There's plenty of pictures, so I'll let them do the talking.

Steve getting a pep talk at Newlands Haus

heading up High Snockrigg

stopping to wave at the helicopter that was buzzing us, apparently making a documentary on the run

Steve has had hot dry conditions all week

almost at Robinson

at Robinson, "I'm sorry, I don't usually go this slow"

heading off, a big descent before climbing back up to Hindscarth

Steve, with the sticks, reaching Hindscarth summit

handing the sticks over as he sets off towards Dale Head

It's a nice run down from Hindscarth but I bet Steve was feeling it

the short cut along Hindscarth Edge

Going along Hindscarth Edge, I ran into fell running legend, Billy Bland.  I think he had come up from Honister, "I was going to show him the quick way along here" he said.

chatting happily at Dale Head
heading down towards Dale Head Tarn.  He was gaining on his schedule at this point

the climb up to High Spy 

High Spy, two more to go

the woman from Trail Running Magazine - celebrity stalking

going at a good pace now

Cat Bells ahead, the last of 214

well ahead of schedule

looks like there's a posse on Cat Bells
any excuse for a beer?

classic view on a gorgeous night

arriving at Cat Bells


and we're off

descending from Cat Bells

shortly after this picture was taken, the man in the white shirt took a fall and rolled into the back of Steve's legs.  Steve basically stopped him from rolling right down the steep side of Cat Bells.  He smashed his glasses in the fall but it could have been much worse for both him and Steve.  Someone said, "you weren't sent by Joss Naylor were you?"

on the flat now, Steve is about an hour ahead of his schedule, about to smash the previous record by 12 hours

plenty gathered at the Moot Hall

he's done it.  With his family after an epic, epic run

unbelievable.  Steve is raising charity for two MS charities, a condition that his sister is affected by.  Please visit his fundraising page and give generously

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