Report from the Hon. Handicapper:
A perfect day for the best fell relay of the year. This is a paired, four stage race in the Lake District based from the village of Patterdale on the shores of Ullswater.
Caron Ralph and Tamara Weatherhead took up the challenge on the first leg, (6.7k & 440m of ascent). Starting on the playing fields at Patterdale finishing in the hamlet of Hartsop, passing Angle tarn at the top of the long climb. They ran well to finish in a time just under the hour, 59.34.
I partnered Liam Dunne on the second stage which has a steepish track climb to the northern end of Hayeswater, before a steep walking climb to the path up to the Roman road that takes in the summit of High Street. Thence onto Thornthwaite Beacon followed by a rocky descent and climb up towards Caudale moor and mostly fast running down to the next changeover at the top of Kirkstone Pass. We ran well to pass over 20 teamsrecording a time of 1:17:39 for the 11k / 890m route.
The two Laura’s of Martin and Clark set off on the next stage, (7.5k, 570m),with the tough very steep first climb up to the summit of Red Screes, from there it’s navigationally challenging when the mist is down but the fantastic weather made this a little easier, although there’s lots of route choice from the last checkpoint down to the changeover point near Brotherswater. I think they had the performance of the day, coming home in a time of 1:14:04, several minutes quicker than the last couple of years.
Graham Lake and Tom Lynch took the ‘baton’ for the final stage of the day, (11k, 900m), a tough route taking in the summits of Hart Crag, Fairfield and St Sunday Crag. Another good performance saw them record a time of 1:37:18 maintaining a 46th position at the finish from 70 starting teams.
Dark Peak FR finally ended the 19 year winning streak of Borrowdale FR, but only with a storming final leg 5 minutes quicker than the next best, Borrowdale, with respective total times of 3:34:50 to 3:39:30. We were only about an hour and a half behind in 5hrs 8 mins 35 seconds. Although a total time for Otley of 5:08:35 was our best clockwise time as a mixed team, (our best anti-clockwise being just approx. 2.5 minutes under 5 hours. So all in all an enjoyable day out in the fells of the eastern lakes.
Comprehensive results on sportident here, Strava Flybys, Leg 1, Leg 2, Leg 3, Leg 4 to checkout all the route choices, (not good on your phone, try laptop etc.), which are quicker is still hard to tell!