Report from Matt:
The presidential limousine picked up Mr Snaith at 4.00 and we made tracks for Threshfield school. Cold clear morning with snow on the hills. Remarkably good and smooth organisation saw us breakfasted and on the bus for the start at Ingleton at 6.00. We both got through the stringent kit checks, which was a relief and then we nervously waited for the 8.30 start with about 300 other people. Our bags felt very heavy as you have to carry a lot of stuff needed for a long time in the hills. So off up an icy Inglebrough followed by Whernside, and the snow showers stopped and the sun came out. The Dales have never looked lovelier with snow down to about 1500ft and very clear. We waved to the Sara and Hannah in the lakes from Great Coum. Then the first of two trips into Dentdale by a very long descent then up Blea Moss and back down with obligatory mud skiing for pasta and lots of tea. The catering on this is superb Two hot sausage rolls in Dent sorted out my cramp. Hill followed hill – 10 in all, with amazing views opening up all around until we went up Dodd Fell, a new one for me. So onto the dreaded Fleet Moss. At the checkpoint before it the farmer was having a chat with officials about which way everyone should be going. He wasn’t happy with people taking a low route and we were directed into the heart of the beast in a lovely sunset. This route was probably quicker and easier to follow, but there is bog like you’ve never seen before. I went in up to my waist and had to be pulled out by Pete with his walking poles. After that we followed a very cunning Derek Fuller route to the check point in the middle of bugger all. If you think you know bog just visit Middle Tongue and you’ll realise you have a lot to learn, but the birdlife is superb. By now darkness had fallen so torches on and head off across Yockenthwaite moor, cunningly following a fast team who had a gps. We were grouped up at Cray. For safety’s sake you have to keep together in a group of four or more all through the night. Grouping was a faf as a lot of people wanted to run with pre- organised groups, but in the end we teamed up with 6 other lovely people. It was a bitterly cold night, but a huge moon so I changed all my layers at Cray. So off we went as the super group of eight not to bad a climb up Buckdon Pike and then a fine route round to Park Rash. We had cunningly teamed up with a guy who had run it over 20 times and was route perfect. You know when you are walking the fells and you see a narrow trod going off in a strange direction, it could be a top fellsman line. Only Wernside to go, and after a brutal climb, with Mars bright in the sky above it, it was all downhill. The bogs didn’t let up and I had three thigh deep immersions on the descent. It’s a funny do running over the hills at night in a line of 8 head torches, just the breathing and splash of feet, with curlews and lapwings calling in the dark. Ted, the navigator said that this was the wettest underfoot in over 20 years! So down to Threshfield finishing in 19 hrs at about 4.30 on Sunday morning. Jim was really pleased as this is his biggest ever race. We were both immensely satisfied by the most amazing day out. Incredibly well organised and friendly. Some of the Marshals are at their checkpoint on top of peaks for 24 hrs, and it was freezing, yet they were cheerful and encouraging.