Below Julian provides us with a report of his challenge.
The fundraising campaign closed on 25th August and raised £1032 (including GiftAid and after deducting card fees) to support grants to the Orienteering Foundation for projects involving juniors (see the original article with Julian's wishes here).
Leg 1 - Pooley Bridge, Arthur’sPike, Loadpot Hill, Wether Hill, Red Crag, Raven Howe, High Raise, Kidsty Pike, Ramsgill Head, High Street, Thornthwaite Beacon, Stony Cove Pike, Pike How: 16 miles / 3900 feet
Set off by Mike Johnson from Pooley Bridge at 23.11 pm in decent weather and good visibility; even the full moon made an appearance above Loadpot. But that changed dramatically soon after and by Raven Howe and for the rest of the leg the rain, wind and clag came down. But excellent navigation and support from Dick Towler and Dave Downes meant I was only 21 minutes down on my schedule by Kirkstone. Mike there to support with welcome food, drink and positivity and to set me off again with my new pacer, Chris Roberts.
Leg 2 - Red Screes, Hart Crag, Fairfield, Seat Sandal: 8 miles / 3200 feet
The rain and wind never let up on this leg and my headtorch packing in just after Red Screes didn’t help. Decided not to stop to replace as dawn wasn’t far away and keeping just one step behind Chris meant we didn’t drop our rhythm. A couple of minor navigational errors and the tough conditions meant we arrived at Dunmail like drowned rats, but thanks to Chris only 30 minutes down on schedule. In the circumstances, a good leg and as the forecast was for better weather to come I happily settled for that. The 20 hour schedule meant I still had a 3 ½ hour buffer so a successful completion was still on the cards. Great support at Dunmail from my wife Serena, Mike (again), Iain Embrey and Mark Edwards, who revived me with strong coffee, brioche rolls and rice pudding.
Leg 3 - Steel Fell, High Raise, Rossett Pike, Bowfell, Esk Pike, Great End: 11 miles / 4900 feet
Relief as the rain began to relent as I climbed up Steel Fell with pacers Mike J, Iain Embrey and Mark Edwards; by the ascent of High Raise it had stopped. On High Raise we were met by Andy Quickfall, who had come up from Borrowdale to do the rest of the leg with us. Thereafter conditions improved almost by the minute and from the top of High Raise to Greendale conditions became nigh perfect; only a couple of hairy moments on Rossett Pike, when a sudden gale nearly blew us away, and a difficult traverse on wet rocks over to Bowfell, caused much anxiety. We gradually ate into the time deficit and by Sty Head we were only 8 minutes off schedule. Now we began to relax, confident of a successful finish. Great support again from daughter Kezi, and from Philip Gager and his son-in-law Jonny, who had walked up from Wasdale Head laden with a chair, more coffee, rice pudding, tin peaches, cakes, drinks, spare clothes and running shoes. Jonny gave me his walking poles as one of mine had broken on the top of Great End, for which I was very grateful.
Leg 4 - Great Gable, Kirkfell, Pillar, Scoat Fell, Steeple, Haycock, Satallan, Middle Fell: 13 miles / 5000 feet
Fortified by the feast at Sty Head, spirits high, I climbed Great Gable with pacers Mike (yes, again), Mary and Gavin in glorious sunshine. This leg was a dream and the clear views across Lakeland we magical. The contrast to legs 1 and 2 couldn’t have been more dramatic and we picked up time on each summit. Kirkfell, Pillar, Scoat, Steeple came and went and we had time for a sit down on Haycock, drinking more coffee, eating more Turkish delights and jelly babies whilst admiring the sight of the Isle of Man basking in bright sunshine. Climbing up Seatallan was always going to be tough, and it was, but after that we could enjoy the run through Middle Fell and down to Greendale Bridge. We arrived just before Joss, Serena and Kezi and enjoyed time reminiscing and having photos taken with the great man.
The finishing time was 18 hrs 55 mins, over an hour ahead of schedule and over 5 hours ahead of the time allowance.
My heartfelt thanks go to the most wonderful and accomplished team of navigators and supporters anyone could wish for: Mike, Dick, Dave, Chris, Iain, Mark, Andy, Mary, Gavin, Philip and Jonny, Serena and Kezi – my successful completion was as much their triumph as mine. A big thank you to my sponsors, whose generosity will be greatly appreciated not only by me but especially by the Macmillan Cancer Nurses and the Orienteering Foundation. And, of course, a big thank you to the great man Joss, who despite recovering from pneumonia was there at the finish.
Julian Lailey (M73)