A Winter Bob Graham Round
22nd - 23rd January 2011
by Jason Hubert

Jason and Chris at Mickledore

Having had to postpone my attempt from the 15th to 22nd January I was having problems drumming up support. Most of my running support was committed to the Devils Burdens race and was unable to come along and I was starting to consider how far I could get solo. Luckily a chance meeting with Stuart Holmes in November was the key to finding local runners who were happy to come out on a Saturday morning and accompany me on my attempt. I left Moot Hall at 6am and jogged to Newlands Church were I picked up Stuart. The weather was perfect, still with a light frost and the moon shining through the broken clouds and the jog along the road was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. Stuart and I then made quick progress up Robinson and were soon up on schedule. Time seemed to pass by very quickly and soon we were on Dalehead chatting to one of the three people who had bivvied there that night. Reaching Honister 15 minutes up I had a quick pit stop with Kirsti and Jonathan and was introduced to my leg 2 team, Jim, Chris and Graham. Leg 2 was fantastic.
Jason and Chris heading towards Scafell Pike

The sun came out, the fells were beautiful and the conversation non-stop, like the food and water. Jim stuck with me, whilst Chris and Graham took a few short cuts since they were coming along for a bit of leg 3. We arrived at Wasdale an hour up on schedule only to find that Kirsti had not arrived. Luckily she got there 10 minutes later and after a rapid feed we were off again.

I felt great going up Scafell, Graham dropped off so it was just Chris and I at the summit. But getting down Lord's Rake was challenging the snow was soft on the surface and the micospikes were a bit too micro to really stick. Luckily Al and Phil were there with ice axes and big boots to kick steps.

Tea and cake at the top of Halls Fell
Chris and I descended carefully and were soon having some tea and cake at Mickledore before heading off again. The cloud had come down and the wind picked up so things started to slow down as we had to get the map out to avoid getting lost in the confusion of paths and cairns. Chris said goodbye at Esk Hause and I promptly ran off in the wrong direction. Some minutes later I was back on track and focusing hard, now alone in the cloud. All went well until the descent off Bowfell. I could not find the ramps off and went too far, but dropping out of the cloud I found Angle Tarn and managed to traverse back on track. Still ahead of schedule it was not until Pike of Stickle that it got completely dark, but it also got very cold and the rocks were slippery with ice. However the biggest challenge was the wide open space of Thunacar Knott without the moon. It was pitch black, but I spotted a bright light ahead and hoped that is was Jonathan since he had agreed to come in from the Dunmail end. Thankfully it was Jonathan standing on High Raise. Without him I would have become completely lost. Even with his experience and a GPS the run from Sergeant Man to Calf Crag was very challenging across the complex micro terrain and we often lost the trod. I reached Dunmail 1 minute ahead of schedule, having lost the 59 minutes I had gained at the top of Scafell and felt very tired.

Jasmin and Jason on the top of Halls Fell

I ate as much as I could and then Joel picked up the baton and off we went up Seat Sandal. Leg 4 was a nerve wracking one. The cold wind was starting to get to me and minutes were slipping here and there, but we only made one minor mistake which we quickly sorted out and before I knew it I could see Jonathan's light at the bottom of Clough Head and we shot down to Threlkeld.

At Threlkeld I decided that I had had enough of carrying anything. I was finding eating difficult but still managed some weetabix, cake and tea before the steep climb up Halls Fell. Jasmin took over the support duties and lead the way up the hill whilst telling me about the Devils Burdens. We met Al and Phil who'd gone up earlier to check out conditions and I managed a bit more tea and cake. By now the moon was out and the trip across Mungrisdale Common was straightforward. There was the odd light snow shower and the biting wind but things seemed to be going better. We waded across several streams before finding the trod up to Calva and avoided the heather, and then it was just the climb up Skiddaw to do.

The finish

Skiddaw was no place to stop and celebrate. It was really cold, even running I was getting cold and it was obvious that my batteries were nearly totally flat. I had to borrow Jasmin's spare top before the run down to Latrigg where we picked up Jonathan for the run back to Moot Hall. I arrived at 05:04, 23:04 hours, exhausted and so glad to stop.

Support: A very big thank you to all those who supported me, especially Stuart, Chris, Jim and Graham who turned up at very short notice and made the first 2 legs a lot of fun. It is safe to say that this would not have happened without you all.

On the Fells: Stuart Holmes, Chris Scammell, Jim and Graham, Joel Sylvester, Jasmin Paris, Jonathan Whitehead
Mountaineering support: Al Brightman and Phil Amos
Roadside: Kirsti Hubert and Jonathan Whitehead

Jason and Kirsti at the finish


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