OMM/KIMM – Lake District

Here’s my account of what happened on Saturday:

Saturday arrived in a calm manner and myself and Kevin travelled up to Seathwaite early doors in order to get registered and then start at 8:22. The temperature was in the mid 50’s so quite mild in all respects, it was blustery on the tops. The organizers decided to continue with the event even though it was 50/50. The deep area of low pressure was going to bring high winds and rainfall, however i didn’t think they realised it would be a lot worse than forecasted. We started off OK pleasant running upto about 10 o’clock in the morning then came the rain. We were running for a control on Rosthwiate fell near Bessy Boot, and the weather deteriorated a little bit more, winds increasing rain that little bit more heavier. We then dropped off the fell (not literally that was to come later), into Stonethwaite to pick up a control near Yew Crag. Weather again deteriorating a bit more, difficult to walk into the wind. By this time we were out for 3.5 hours we were really slow primarily because of the weather, so that meant 1.5 hours to get to the overnight camp which was in Buttermere. (All courses had bad weather starts which means 1 hour off the time allowed out.) That meant going via Honister Pass, with Seatoller out of bounds we had to skirt on the footpath near Tongue Gill, we eventually got to Honister where all hell broke loose. I cannot describe how strong the wind was. I’m not sure if this particular area amplifies wind velocity off the fells and pushes it into the valley below but i would guess that there were gusts of say 90 -95 m.p.h. We started to run down Honister when one gust literally picked us up and blew us into the side of the road. This in turn sprained both of Kev’s ankles because of the way he landed. We both looked at each other and i said it was madness to carry on, we wouldn’t be able to put the tent up in Buttermere anyway because of the wind and I would have guessed the campsite would have been flooded.. The road had turned to cascading rivers and the force of this water was enough to carry small cobbles along with it. So up Honister we went again, by chance there were two other runners that came passed us and told us the event was cancelled, people were now turning back, mountain rescue were going down the road to Buttermere, it was pretty dire. The thing about it was there were people still going up the mountain to get controls. We dropped down into Seatoller and back to Seathwaite. What greeted us was a massive flood, the Derwent had burst its banks and the poor sods who parked their cars at the side of the road had their cars flooded. We were lucky in the fact that we parked in the main car park which wasn’t flooded (thank God). We handed our dibber in had a cup of soup and got changed in the car. We spent the rest of the night in the car and didn’t bother venturing out to get something hot to eat because it was chucking it down, the rain stopped at 3a.m. At 6 o clock Sunday morning after about 3 hours sleep (primarily due to Kev snoring, only joking), we managed to push the car out of the field and make our way back to Keswick and then home. I managed to get in touch with the Wife to tell her we were ok, she heard about the news on the radio but there was no signal in the valley anyway so it wasn’t until we reached Keswick when we got a signal. I know of only one other runner from Horwich that we saw and that was James Logue, not sure if anyone else did it.

Denis Mason

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