After a 4am start I arrived at the top of Newlands Hawse, about a mile from the pick up point, only to be met by two runner-shaped lads waving me down. A car had been abandoned on sheet ice on the other side of the pass and one of the lads had slid into it. Rather than heading off to Coniston to run the first section of the route I would be spending the morning helping out at the scene. I actually felt pretty lucky...if I hadn't stopped for breakfast on the journey up it could have been my car down there.
A few other runners turned up, including Flip. It was great to see him again...the last time we spoke was the day after last year's Lakeland 50 when he and Anna were inspiring me to do the Lakeland 100 this year. It took a few hours for the police to arrive then the four remaining runners (Flip, Peter, TheSteadyGroove and me) decided that we would run down to Buttermere and do an out and back on part of the course we were set to run on.
|Morning light on Fleetwith Pike|
|Running along the valley floor (in the opposite way to the route)|
|The descent from Black Sail Pass. Picture taken|
from the small wooden bridge over the beck.
The route up to Scarth Gap Pass seemed to be straight forward. The only place where it seemed you could go wrong would be at the top, where the main footpath from Fleetwith Pike to Pillar crossed. You need to pass straight over this, staying in the saddle. The path was quite faint (trampled grass rather than solid path) which could be difficult to spot in the dark.
|The Saddle on Scarth Gap Pass|
|The Descent from Scarth Gap Pass to Buttermere|
|The path around Buttermere|
|Flip on the trail after the Buttermere Checkpoint|
|SteadyGroove at the junction|
This will look very different in the dark and with chest high bracken!
|The junction, as seen from the opposite side of the valley|
So, not the day we had planned but we made the most of it and had a good run. I did get to recce the section of the route that I most wanted to see, so all was not lost.
A week after this run I got the results from my MRI scan back. There is still damage to the achillies but it is healing nicely. I got the green light to run so long as I go steadily. Most importantly there is no underlying issue, which means there is no reason to expect this to happen again. Great news!