Monday, August 4, 2014

St Bega's Recce - The Wrong Way

Very different conditions to the last recce - heading down the steep and slippery Loft Beck path into Ennerdale Valley

Jonathan - looking good
We put our planned SBU35 recce off from the Saturday until the Sunday in case the weather cleared up.  This didn't happen and we initially agreed a joint Ashworthing.  Then I had a look at some pictures from a very wet Borrowdale Fell Race and decided we should MTFU and go ahead regardless of the weather.  As it was just me and Jonathan doing the run, we opted for a casually late start time of 10.30am, bearing in mind there would be an hour or so of driving sorting cars out for the linear route.  With our temporary Ashworthing, this changed to about 11.30am.

We drove to St Bees then Jonathan got in my car and we headed to Rosthwaite.  We had estimated the route would be about 20 miles from here.  This was based on Rosthwaite being 15 miles into the course and the SBU35 being about 35 miles long.

and me, also looking good
This point in the write up would be a good opportunity to remind Jonathan about the last time we planned a linear route with two cars.  It would suffice to say that I made sure he had his keys with him this time.  I think Jonathan had already made doubly sure of that anyway.

Once at Rosthwaite we parked up and donned our cool looking wet weather gear.  The route starts climbing quite soon after Rosthwaite and, after the first navigational error, for which Jonathan owes me five Euros, we were soon on the rough track over to Honister Slate Mine.

We were soaked by the time we got to the slate mine so we carried on up, picking out the track over to Loft Beck easily.  This was possibly the wildest and wettest part of the day.  Some beautiful views opened up over to Buttermere and beyond but the descent down the Loft Beck path was treacherous.

Once down this path though, and after crossing the swollen stream, running along the path through those little dumpy mounds (drumlins) and getting to the newly refurbished Black Sail Youth Hostel, we were onto the forest track of Ennerdale Valley.  The weather cleared for a bit and the level ground was very welcome.

Jonathan on that steep grassy bit before getting onto the Honister track

looking over Borrowdale

at the slate mine.  Wet and windy

too wet, slippery and windy to do any running across here.

we got the odd glimpse of beautiful Buttermere and Crummock Water

then down a greasy Loft Beck path

 A swollen Loft Beck joins the Liza - a few crossings to be negotiated ahead

looking back up Loft Beck.  Jonathan is up there somewhere

now we are in the Ennerdale Valley and it's beautiful

one last splash before the hostel

dedication to Chris Brasher
Gonna have to take my hopes and dreams with me then...

from the hostel towards Pillar

nice running now

heading around the West End of Ennerdale

We got on the road at Ennerdale Bridge but then missed the turn off towards Flat Fell and Dent.  There is some dispute about who was at fault here.  I suppose, given the fact that Jonathan has no interest in learning how to read a map or use a compass (he recently injured his ankle prior to the Skiddaw Fell Race due to dashing to borrow a compass.  Incidentally, had the organisers tested his proficiency with said instrument, say by asking him to locate North, they would have found him lacking but I suppose he is not unique in that regard), I have to admit that it was me who failed to spot the turn off.  I have long since taken to ignoring Jonathan's protestations of "I don't remember this bit", the final nail in the coffin being an, "I've never been here before" on the Steve Birkinshaw run less than a week after we had taken part in the Scafell Trail Marathon which had started at that very spot.  So being left as sole navigator, yes, I made an error.

The error was correctable by taking Nannycatch Lane back towards Flat Fell and Dent and picking the course up from there.  We had run a very similar course on Wednesday with the now famous Hardly AC running group.  We were about 18 miles in at this point and Jonathan felt more comfortable sticking to the road.  We had the option of jumping on the cycle track at Cleator Moor but decided to continue on the road, the conditions being very wet and not wanting to make another navigational error.  So we went through Cleator Moor, through the West Cumberland Hospital at Hensingham, through Mirehouse and then down the main road towards St Bees.

definitely not as pretty this way mate

25 actually (and a bit)

On evaluating the run there were lots of positives to take from it.  We certainly didn't get down when we realised we had gone wrong.  I felt very strong towards the end of the run and there were a good few hills which made the going tougher.  We also have to take something from carrying on in the atrocious weather.

I've been resting today, just a quick swim at lunchtime but my legs and feet feel good.  I'll have a few little runs this week before hopefully a decent run on Friday when I'm off work.

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