The Start of an Obsession...

We've learnt from last year, hell we even did a simulated kit check before we set off to Threshfield... Yes, we counted each others safety pins and plasters... We looked at last years marzipan with some sceptism, but its over the 300g and comes in a bag that moulds to the bottom of your rucksack.

We started off in the rain, and headed quickly into the cloud... and more cloud, and horizontal rain.  My top gear, as it sometimes does, didn't want to play - but we were still at the top in good time for us - 1h 45 min.

From the Trig we couldn't see the shelter, so we paused, caught a break in a swirl... Spotting a red blinker we moved to the checkpoint and got our tallies stamped.

Last year, in similar visibility, we screwed up big time... and this time we checked the bearing from the shelter to the edge, got the GPS out at the top of the path, checked the bearing, kept going, checked the GPS and then... we saw the flags skirting out towards Hill Inn...

So, dropping down that hideous staircase we hit the flags with a spring in our steps and picked up the pace across the flags, over the duck boards and then to the Checkpoint at Hill In - a quick biccy and juice and start the haul up to Whernside.  Top gear was still elusive but we were still moving well, wending our way up, trying to get as much height in before the Three Peaks Marathoners came down at full throttle... Those can run, and whereas we had reasonable rucksacks on, they seems to be flying in small bumbags, vests and minimal shorts...

The wind on Whernside was lifting us as we went along the ridge line, and neither of us are lightweights.  Dodging incoming fell runners we battered our way up, the wind chaffing and the views opening up over the Ribblehead Viaduct.

And then... a twinge... a contraction along the inside of the thigh, first the left and then more intensely the right.  It's a bug bear I've had a couple of times, its not hydration related, its not salt related, its just idiosyncratic and a pain in the fecking thigh... It's like someone ratcheting the inner thigh muscles to half their normal length. 

Sometimes it wears off as quickly as it comes, and other times like Saturday it doesn't.  Looking like I'd just done a couple of hours on a bucking bronco we went back down the ridge, looking for the famous Whernside stile - a Fellsman own development taking us over and the long drop down to the barbed wire gap in the fence...

The thighs were alternating contracting and feeling like they were good... I was edging towards feeling good, when both contracted as I stepped down a mud step and I ended up kneeling in the mud...

Working down to the checkpoint, I knew I was done - if there weren't checkpoints on the hills with people there in the weather I might of carried on.  My safety is important, but I'll take more risks with it than with that of others.  I had ordered Chris to cut the rope and head off on his own, but he declined...

And so at Kingsdale we handed in our tallies, grabbed a mug of tea and chatted to the sweep team - one of who said that we were being watched as we came down off Whernside, and that my fall was no Torville and Dean moment...

A long mini-bus ride back, passing plenty of the runners towards the front of the pack and to Threshfield - check-in and back to the lodge for tea and biofreeze. 

Twelve miles walked, 3700ft ascended, in nine minutes longer than Naismith would predict - for us good. 

My thigh only really hurts if I lift my foot up, so bizarrely I could jog on parts of the walk we did around Bolton Abbey on Sunday.  I've a little under a week of rest and recuperation for my leg to start working for the Berghaus Trail Running Team even on Saturday, so buy shares in BioFreeze and compression leggings... I should be fine, and by Saturday a gentle jog will be in order.  The Liverpool Rock and Roll Marathon may be more of a speed walk than a run... But as one of the sweep team said - even in the rain and wind of Ingleborough I was smiling, and that's my aim to enjoy the hills and events I can.  I've had too many people tell me that I can't do things that every time I get out there I smile. 

The obsession? Before we were through Kit Check we were already planning 2015... Coming down Ingleborough we were discussing kit selection and whether I can speed up the descent by treating it more as a fell run... As soon as the date is announced the accommodation will be booked... and as soon as the thigh is recovered the training plan will start.

Obsession? Nah - just an event that is fantastically well organised, by a bunch of great people who volunteer and let people like me smile on the hills.

So thank you to the Fellsman, for getting under my skin... I've some training to plan.

TTFN

Paul



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