Report from Hannah:
As I’m turning 40 this year I’ve decided to do things that push me out of my comfort zone and being friends with Sarah Fuller eventually means that the events she enters start to sound normal(ish). Last year she told me about the mini RABs that cater for newbies as well as elite and I was hooked on the idea of entering one. So that’s what I did and after my initial victim ended up with an injury I roped in Sara Richard as she’s as daft as me.
For those that don’t know what one is it’s basically a treasure hunt to collect points within a time limit. This one was on Grasmere Common in the Lakes and we had 4 hours from receiving our map with check points on to plan our route to get as many points as possible and get back to base. Otherwise the points we had collected would start to be reduced depending on how late we were, 30 mins late and all points were lost. No pressure then.
We picked our route with contingencies in case we were running out of time or got lost, thanks for that tip Sarah, and off we went. We easily found the first two checkpoints and picked up 30 points, no mishaps apart from me losing one leg in a bog but what’s new we’re all used to that these days!
Lulled into a false sense of security we ran off for our third checkpoint thinking this was easy and this is when the terrain started climbing steeply and was to be the last of our running for a long time. We found the checkpoint and pressed on as quick as we could till we hit a crossroads where we needed to decide if we were going to carry on as planned or take an alternative route.
We were now faced with two routes without tracks and decided to ditch checkpoint 4 as the climb looked horrific and off we went for our alternative which was a big 30 pointer so we knew it was going to be a tough one, another tip from Sarah was if its high points it’s not an easy one. Well it was a vertical climb following a stream and it felt like we were never going to get to the top of the hill, I could see the time ticking away and it was nowhere in sight.
Eventually we made it and we were delighted to bag a 30 pointer at High Raise. It was decision time again and as it had taken us far longer than anticipated we had to head back towards base and see if we had time to divert to pick up one or two 20 pointers on the way back. We thought we could get at least one of them.
How wrong were we?! We set off following a couple who had followed us up to the last check point but eventually decided to take a slightly different route across the fell to try and drop down to Codale Tarn. Oops, we were on the edge of a cliff face. We either had to double back and climb back up the fell or try to find a way down. Luckily we did manage to find a steep but safe way down and had to repeat this two more times as we hit another cliff and then another.
I think Sara might be a little traumatised and thank god it was perfect conditions as there was no way we could have attempted this route if it was wet under foot or the visibility was low. Lesson learnt for next time, look at the map more carefully and realise you’re heading for a chuffing cliff.
It took us so long to get down that we had to abandon all thoughts of getting any more check points and just get back. At this point I’d calculated we were going to be somewhere between 20-30 mins late and basically we were going to loose all our hard earned points. As I’m sure you can imagine I had a sense of humour failure about this and decided we mustn’t give up and we had to go for it to get off the fells as quick as possible and keep as many points as we could.
It was so frustrating as although we were on a path and heading down hill it was so rocky under foot it was impossible to run for more than a few steps at a time. We ploughed on and once we hit Easedale Tarn we managed to get into a rhythm, then we hit the flat and pushed ourselves as hard as we could to get back 2 mins 28 seconds late losing only 3 of our 80 points.
Results aren’t out till tomorrow so we have no idea how we have done but at that point we were 5th team back and in 4th place, as Sara pointed out we weren’t last so well done us. The leaders had something like 229 points, we didn’t stand a chance of getting near that!
It was a huge learning curve and I’m glad the weather was good as I’m sure we would have been I trouble at points if it hadn’t been. Did we enjoy it? Yes I think we did, we are definitely proud of ourselves. Will we do it again, probably!