Saturday, 2 May 2015

The Fellsman - 25th April 2015

The Fellsman is a completely fabulous ultra distance event, following a route of 60 ish miles over the real rugged wilds of the Yorkshire Dales. That said don't in any way think that the words 'following'  or 'a route' infer that you just have to follow some well worn track or trail all the way round. Far from it in fact; its more about being out in the wilds, well off any beaten track most of the time, and mountain craft and proper navigation can really come into play. In addition to the the distance, the navigation and the tough terrain, the Fellsman also throws in a fair smattering of peaks and, starting from Ingleton, the summits of Ingleborough, Whernside, Gragareth, Great Coum, Blea Moor, Great Knoutberry, Dodd Fell, Middle Tongue, Buckden Pike and Great Whernside are all visited in turn, with other ridges, bumps, lumps, swamps and bogs all thrown into the mix, before finally dropping back down to civilisation and the finish in Threshfield.

Anyway me and Hester, both 'hardened' Fellsman veterans from previously, had another crack last Saturday and decided to run it together (now that we're betrothed n'all ☺︎). This year the weather was a bit grim initially (i.e. for the first 7 or so hours!), with a cold wind and heavy rain, which turned to snow for a while, but things cleared up beautifully later in the day with a crystal clear (and freezing cold) night to follow. The 'me and Hester' mini-team coped more than adequately with the grim weather (living smack in the middle of the Dales and running in the self same hills all winter sure helps) and eventually grouped up with Iain and Ian at the Fleet Moss check point, some 40 miles in, at 6:30 ish in the evening for the last 20 miles - for safety reasons the organisers require groups of at least 4 after dark.

And cutting a long story short, after a completely fantastically adventurous time, we all finally finished at the school hall in Threshfield some 18 hours after starting. Putting our time in perspective, the winning time was 10 hours 23 minutes! Another cracking event though and, as usual, a very well done to the Fellsman organisers - just superb! 

And well done Hester for fainting at the finish, which was put down by the Fellsman medics to the speedy change in temperature from c-c-c-cold to warm in the school hall!!

As usual the Fellsman was super challenging and of the 374 starters 92 didn't make it to the finish. We finished 111th which wasn't half bad I reckon.

From Ingleton - 59 miles and 10,947 ft - route on Strava

The Fellsman route as seen from space

Hester warming up at the start with a couple of touch toes

And we're off..... into the glooming

Hester still looking smiley at the Kingsdale CP

Trudging out of Dentdale

Tussocks, tussocks everywhere

Once the clouds had gone, Ingleborough was pretty much constantly in view

Nearing Middle Tongue and the path is now a quad bike track

More tussocks

Nearly sunset now and Buckden Pike, and Great Whernside beyond, are ahead and still to be conquered

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