Report from Tom Pomfrett:
The Great Lakeland Three Day is (unsurprisingly) a three day mountain marathon event in the Lake District. It’s a slightly different format to most mountain marathons in that competitors only need to carry basic kit and tents etc. are shipped from camp to camp, the idea being to have a long mountain journey rather than a suffer-fest of difficult navigation.
Kirsty and I divided and paired up with a couple of friends with Ali and I opting for the A course and Kirsty and Hannah the B course and we arrived on Friday evening with plenty of warm kit packed owing to the unseasonally terrible weather forecast. Ali and I started at 8.30am from Herdwick Croft at the northern tip of Bassenthwaite and made our way into the Skiddaw range via Ullock Pike and Lonscale fell before descending to Threlkeld. I was starting to suffer at this point trying to keep up with Ali and his unreasonable levels of fitness. From here we took the direct route up Clough Head (familiar to any Bob Graham enthusiast) and made our way through knee deep snow along the Helvellyn ridge contouring the peaks up to Raise. From here we continued down to Grisedale tarn and then further down the slippy descent to Grasmere and Camp 1.
I was suffering pretty badly at camp and Ali’s knee injuries were playing up but we were delighted to find ourselves sitting in 6th place, managing the 42km/2000m ascent in 6h28. Kirsty and Hannah came in a couple of hours later after starting late, 69th in the B class in 8h11. It turned out Hannah had been struggling badly having not fully recovered from running the Cateran Trail a few weeks previously.
The next day I was stiff but feeling slightly more alive and given the terrible weather we decided to drop down to the B course. We walked the initial ascent in the rain with the girls but at the col they decided to drop down to the C course as Hannah was still finding the going tough. Ali and I continued on the B course, contouring around High Raise when I suddenly found myself in front for the first time all weekend rather than struggling to keep up. I turned round to find Ali grimacing badly, his knee having given up on him. After that we went into survival mode and worked our way back to the path down to Honister, catching up with Kirsty and Hannah, who was still suffering, on the way. After a cup of tea and soup in the Honister Cafe we all decided to call it a day and caught a lift back to camp 2 to confirm our DNFs.
Overall it was a mixed weekend. We were gutted not to finish but I was pleased with my performance on day 1. Next up Kirsty and I are teaming up for Saunders in an attempt to improve our DNF records!