Everybody’s a winner
We all had a birthday. The sun shone, there was some snow and ice, plenty of soft bog, four river crossings, some slightly confusing mist, a following wind on the way back, one white hare and one incidence of sheep wrestling. Stewart managed to release a sheep trapped in some fencing, thereby claiming three minutes off his race time. This was duly agreed. And, the icing on the cake for the birthday run was that all runners finished first or second or third so everybody had a podium finish. Medals in the form of homemade flapjack, gingerbread and McVitie’s biscuits were awarded at the King’s Tree finish.
Start times were 9.15 (10 of us), 9.30 (2) with Tom S having a late lonely start at 10.15, yet passing all the other starters for a lonely finish in the remarkable time of 1 hour 50 minutes. We glimpsed him climbing out of Alport on our way back. Tom W was next back in under three hours and the rest of us were bunched between about 3 hours 3 minutes (Rob in third place) and 3 hours 18 minutes.
Even from the start there was a good bit of route choice, either crossing Linch Clough immediately after the access gate or following the lower zig zag path before steeply climbing out. The plantation at the Westend river crossing had been harvested since the last running of the race so the Landrover track out of the valley and near Black Clough was less obvious. It seems the track may be the optimum line as Eoin and Stewart pulled well ahead of those who missed it. The climb out Alport does not get any easier and when the mist was encountered on Over Wood Moss, it added a bit of confusion as we reached the upper reaches of Nether North Grain (though we weren’t sure at the time). A quick glance down this Grain convinced us (Simon, Andy and I) we needed to continue to Upper North Grain and the cabin. Leaving there and following the easterly branch of the Upper Grain, we met Sarah and Pete coming down to the cabin. They were catching up on their 15 minute later start!
By the time we were making the return crossing of Alport, we had emerged from the mist into sunshine with the westerly wind now behind us. Keeping close to the 535m highpoint towards Westend avoided most of the groughs leading into Ravens Clough. By now Bob, Eoin and Stewart were in sight. From the sheepfold, there seemed to be two lines to Black Dyke, an early ascent from Westend or a climb from lower down Westend, up near the left-hand side of a rocky outcrop to reach the ridge. Black Dyke seemed almost like road running though sometimes under a foot of icy water. A left turn after about a mile took us to the descent into Linch Clough and to the finish.
A memorable birthday outing. Thanks to all who took part.
|1||Tom Saville||01:50:15||Dark Peak||MSEN||First MSEN|
|2||Tom Westgate||02:57:15||Dark Peak||M55||First MV55|
|3||Rob Cole||03:03:52||Dark Peak||MSEN|
|4||Sarah Broadhurst||03:04:26||Dark Peak||W50||First lady+LV50|
|4||Peter Gorvett||03:04:26||Dark Peak||M70||First MV70|
|6||Gabor Csorba||03:05:10||Dark Peak||M50||First MV50|
|7||Stewart Kemp||03:10:00||Dark Peak||M65||First MV65, 3 mins allowed for sheep wrestling|
|8||Bob Berzins||03:14:00||Dark Peak||M55|
|9||Graham Berry||03:17:00||Dark Peak||M75||First MV75|
|10||Andy Harmer||03:17:47||Dark Peak||M70|
|11||Eoin Connaughton||03:17:57||Dark Peak||M55|
|12||Simon Bacsich||03:18:54||Dark Peak||M40||First MV40|
|13||Maurice Musson||Dark Peak||M65||Alport and back|
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