Joss Naylor Challenge -18th April
As a 55 year old with 15 hours to compete the 48 mile, 17000 feet traverse of the Lake District I left Pooley Bridge before first light in the company of Karl Taylor (HRMI) and Gary Murray (Helm Hill Runners) to meet Iain Kirk on Arthur’s Pike – the first of the 30 tops to be crossed before descending to Greendale Bridge, Wasdale. The night sky was so bright we discarded our torches before sunrise and began to enjoy the perfect conditions that lasted all day. Breathtaking views unfolded as we journeyed south over High Street to the Kirkstone Inn and the first road support point where Pauline and Keith Foster (Rucksack Club) we waiting to feed us. Ahead of an already tight schedule for this leg we arrived before the kettle had boiled. Karl and Iain stayed with me and Dave Bateson (Achilli Rati) and Phil Dewhurst (HRMI) joined for the crossing to Dunmail Raise. On Fairfield Iain turned for Patterdale and a bus home while the rest of us made our way to Seat Sandal enjoying the sunshine and the views west.
Monica Shone (JNC Recorder) was waiting at Dunmail to take some photographs and provide plenty of welcome encouragement. The road support team alert to the idea we might still be a up on the 14 hour schedule were ready for us and they had been strengthened by Ed Swift (HRMI) and John Swift (Chorley AC). Karl again stayed with me and we were joined by Rhiannon George (Eden Runners) and Duncan Richards for the third leg. The climb out of Dunmail was soon done and then the sunshine in a sheltered gully below High Raise began to take its toll on all of us and at one point here I was struggling to imagine being able to reach Sty Head with enough energy to tackle the last leg. Recovery happened, as it does, and although time was lost it was never enough to threaten the schedule.
Running into Sty Head knowing I had enough left for the last section provided a real lift. By the ambulance box I found John Coope (HRMI), Nicole Kirkham (HRMI) and Joss waiting to feed and encourage us. Bill Williamson, Keith Foster, John Fleetwood (Ambleside), Rachel Metcalfe (HRMI) were waiting to take me over Great Gable and all the rest to Middlefell for the final descent to Greendale Bridge. Rhiannon was enjoying the day so much she came over Great Gable and Kirk Fell before descending to Wasdale Head. On Pillar Pauline, Ed and John Swift were waiting to accompany us for the rest of the run. John Coope, Nicole and David Powell-Thomson were waiting on Seatallan while Julie Laverock (Salford) joined us on Middlefell after racing at Coledale Horseshoe. Joss met us at Greendale Bridge which I reached 14 hours and 14 minutes after leaving Pooley Bridge to complete a perfect day.