This was the true spirit of fell racing. There were two start times advertised in DP News, one at 6:30 and the other at 7:00pm. The organiser of the race couldn't be present; his broken leg limited his mobility and therefore, the checkpoint identifications couldn't be put in place. There was of course the usual options of running any combinations of the springs and, as it turned out, any start time was allowed provided you timed yourself and could be trusted to visit the checkpoints. To finish things off to a nicety a spectator took the finishing times.
One of the prime DPFR events, Mike Hayes's 'Four Springs' covers three of the four corners of Kinder; Fairbrook, Sandy Hay and Swines Back. If you're fit and not worried about finesse orienteering then the fourth corner, Crookstone Knoll, could also be visited. But this would mean missing a long Kinder crossing from 3 to 4 which I find fairly confusing in clear weather. I suspect that in the mist I would take greater care and might not be led astray by where I think Fairbrook Naze and Seal Stones should be.
This year I had run with Andy from Spring 1 to 2 and 2 to 3 though I later suffered from attempting to keep up with Andy on the latter section. From 2 to 3 we plunged to the right of the wood below Mermaids Pool and climbed to Cluther Rocks on 'runnable' ground. Leaving spring 3 (below Noes Stool) we climbed back up to Kinder for the final crossing. Andy took a line slightly to my left as we crossed the first drainage bowl. On reaching the horizon of this bowl, which always feels as if it should be the Eastern edge of Kinder, Andy ran to my right and in due course I managed to reached Spring 4 without seeing Andy.
I glanced back to the edge, Andy was not in sight, so I pushed through the heather to Fairbrook, crossed and joined the main path just as Andy appeared out of the heather somewhere! This is where the Cluther Rocks run came into its own as I fought to keep up with Andy through yet more heather but could not. He sped off to the finish as I wallowed on, hardly able to speak to the spectators (Chris and Diane) on the way down to the last stream.
We were among the 6:35 starters but others started at 7:00 (I think) and the usual combinations of springs were run; 1,2,3,4 or 1,3,4. Tim Tett, spectating for the night brought some order out of the chaos by recording times and spring combinations. All in all a wonderful race.
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