I'm not the world's best navigator but when I try, I usually do quite well ..... if I remember to use the map and compass. The trouble comes when I think I know the terrain and don't need to navigate!
Conditions for the Margery Hill race were excellent - nearly firm under foot, no wind to speak of and a pleasant running temperature. Fifteen of us set off on the "slow" start and by the top of Hollin Clough, Tony and Clare had a few yards lead on the rest of us who had walked up the steep bits. On the run across to Lost Lad, I had pulled back from 8th to 4th (by
atint of better lines, not better running) and although I was back in 8th again by the time we picked up the track into Sheepfold Clough, I was confident of making up ground by veering left at the point where the track kinks to the right.
By this time the mist was down and so I decided to drop as comfortably as possible towards Abbey Brook, relying on the contours for navigation. As I dropped out of the mist, there was the track and the stream, not so far down as I had
remembered and the climb looked more comfortable than the one I found two years ago. Again I used the contours, angling up to the left and aiming for the deep drainage channel that runs up Howden Edge to High Stones. Good line this time, voices over to my right so I seemed to be running parallel to the group ahead, much more runnable than before but the channel apppeared more or less on cue and seemed much as I remembered with a steep drop away to the left just detectable through the mist. No signs of the others and judging by the grouse I was putting up, I was the first to come this way. Should be up to High Stones soon. Didn't remember the last climb. There seemed to be more rocks than I had thought - and surely there is no trig point on High
Stones? I'm not the world's best navigator but I do know all of the 15 trigs and Back Tor is the most characteristic of them all.
I still don't know how I got there. I do know that if my compass had been in my hand and not on my back I would probably have noticed that I was going South and not North! On the other hand, if I had stuck to my original plan to recce the section of the Watershed from Back Tor to Wilfrey Edge as part of the run, I would have reached Back Tor half an hour earlier. As it was I decided that I needed to get to know Abbey Brook a bit better too.
I think I spotted the point where I must have crossed Sheepfold Clough, thinking it was Abbey Brook and at least I got back in time to see everyone finish. Splendid runs by Clare Crofts who lowered the ladies record by 12.5 minutes, Andy Harmer who smashed the course record and Tony Farnel1 who carried the veterans record into a new dimension. Next year I will have my map and my compass in my hand
from the start.
Andy Harmer set a new record, the defending champion, our own Eddie Torr opting for a trip south. Tony took the vets record whilst Clare set a very good ladys record.
Pete Kohn retired, 3 dogs finished (2 with their masters, the other took the new dogs record of 1.41.32 having dropped own T.F.). A good turnout made most interesting by the mist which led many fellsman astray.
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