Thursday, 31 July 2014

Lakeland 50 - Ambleside Parish Hall to Chapel Stile

Didn't eat anything at Ambleside but had some flat coke and topped up carb drink.  Another bustling checkpoint but a bit warm as it was indoors. As always plenty of really helpful marshals on hand to help out at the checkpoint. Waterproofs on and head torch on I headed out into Rothay park for the next leg.

At first the torch was on and off  but eventually it was on constantly.  I knew where I was going but have to say that the prospect of heading across a lonely bit of fell on my own wasn't great.  I'd expected to see lines of head torches bobbing along but at this stage there were none.  I think I was a bit too slow to have kept up with the decent runners and a bit too quick for all the power walkers and found myself in a bit of a gap in the middle. Oh well, I would just have to be intrepid.

I was power walking at this point. Just wasn't confident enough to run in the rain and dark at this point.  A couple of guys caught me up and overtook me fairly quickly.  Their packs and jackets reflected in my head torch reminded me of that old movie Tron. I felt in need of a bit of company so trotted along just behind them all the way over to Skelwith  Bridge.  They were very chivalrous and would hang on a bit for me at gates to make sure I was still there before carrying on. I was grateful to the "Tron Boys" to have someone to tag along with.

Once we got to Skelwith Bridge my confidence was back.  I know this part of the course really well and had hoped to make up a bit of time by running from here to the checkpoint. It's relatively flat here.  My feet, though, had other ideas and were beginning to hurt a lot.  I knew that there were blisters to be dealt with but decided to push on till Chapel Stile as there are comfy sofas there and I was looking forward to having some beef stew too.

I hobbled on.  Suddenly there seemed to be a lot of people around.  A poor chap was being sick extremely noisily but as there were plenty of people around I carried on.  Sadly it had gone past closing time so no happy drinkers left at the Wainwright Inn to cheer me on.  Through the campsite and there was the checkpoint.  Lit up with fairy lights and a fire pit/chiminea burning away.  I headed into the marquee, plonked myself on a sofa, took a deep breath and removed my shoes.

A lovely lady marshal brought me some stew and a drink, and my feet, while blistered, weren't as bad as I'd feared.  I got my fist aid kit out and applied some blister plasters and had a couple of painkillers.  A young chap on the sofa next to me was wrapped in a foil blanket looking defeated. He saw me doctoring my feet and asked me if I was packing it in.  I was shocked at this and said of course not, it's not that far to go now.  Poor lad had got cold, hungry and miserable.  Lots of people joined in the conversation and before he knew it, he was put into his waterproofs and scooped up by a group of chaps that promised to get him through.  I didn't see him again so fingers crossed, he made it to the finish.

I probably lingered a bit too long at this checkpoint but it was lovely there.  The next stage was to an unmanned checkpoint and is  very dark and slightly trickier navigationally than other bits of the course.  I wasn't looking forward to heading out on my own and began looking around for anyone else setting off to tag along with.  Happily, I spotted Jane, the lady I'd buddied up with on the way to the Kentmere checkpoint. This was great so I tagged along with her and a small group of pole wielding power walkers.

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