Report from Hannah Lupton
I’ve decided I’m completely barking. After the ultra in early Oct I didn’t feel I’d quite finished with my adventures for the year and when Liz Fawcett asked if anyone wanted to join her in doing the Wensleydale Wedge I thought why not.
It’s a LDWA 23 miler like Rombalds, starts and finishes in Askrigg passing through Thoralby, Aysgarth up to Bolton Castle and across Askrigg Moor.
Liz did a recce a couple of weeks ago and we were booked into a B&B in Askrigg due to the 8am start. During the week leading up to this weekend the weather has been awful, heavy snow on the hills and the forecast was not good. I was definitely wavering as I wasn’t up for a re run of the appalling weather we had for Rombalds and my ankle was still swollen after falling in a race two weeks ago.
A long story cut short, Liz was sensible and I was not, I asked someone who had excellent nav skills and who I knew needed the extra spine training to join me and Sarah Fuller couldn’t resist an excuse for an adventure.
We set off on sat night and had a fab night and breakfast at Thornsgill House in Askrigg, really recommend it. When we awoke it was unexpectedly dry so that was a bonus as it’s always easier to start a race in the dry. The route is really picturesque and very manageable, ok it’s not flat but no horrendous hills. However, the mud started immediately and didn’t really let up. It was really hard work staying upright and very difficult to get going. After Semer Water we started climbing up and the snow began.
I’ve run in the snow at low level before but never over a moor and that deep, totally out of my comfort zone. I actually quite liked it but my ankles were starting to complain after all the mud. Sarah was in her element and was very much enjoying herself. She wanted to start a snowball fight but I wanted to keep my hands warm, although I was tempted to do a snow angel, thankfully my sensible head kicked in and I didn’t.
As we started heading down out of the snow towards the first check point with food at Thoralby, at 11 miles, I was seriously struggling and after a while decided I best warn Sarah I was thinking of retiring as I was in mega pain. We decided we’d get some food and a cuppa, get some painkillers down me and crack on to the next check point about 2 miles further on, then I could decide what to do.
I gritted my teeth, moaned and groaned, and listened to Sarah’s words of wisdom. “You’ll be pissed off if you retire”, too true. I also wanted to see Bolton Castle as I’d never heard of it and so we continued through more mud and made it to the check point there at 16.5 miles. Painkillers hadn’t done a thing and I was still in mega pain, strangely running was easier than walking but the damn mud wasn’t making that easy.
Decisions, decisions, it was only another 6.5 miles to the end, I could crawl that. So with literally gritted teeth off we went. Finally, we turned down off Askrigg Moor and we could see the village. Finishing in 6:26 ish.
I must be slightly sadistic as I will not give up even when my body is screaming at me to stop. I can’t thank Sarah enough for her support and nav skills, she’s a machine as she’d already done 50 miles this week and it looked like it was a breeze for her.
That’s it for me this year, I’m having a rest to let these ankles recover properly. Well apart from Chevin Chase but that’s tradition.