Locals turn out to watch mountain marathon through Martindale
The other day, I found myself weighing a pair of leggings on the kitchen scales. Early-onset Alzheimer's, you might think...but not quite. It's only two and a bit weeks until running partner Penny and I undertake perhaps our most stupid challenge yet. To take part in the Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon.
This two day event sees pairs of runners complete a 10-ish mile off-piste course around a number of cunningly hidden checkpoints to a squelchy, mozzie-ridden camp with 1000s of other tired, wet and possibly happy runners. There they have to feed and shelter themselves with only the things in their hopelessly flimsy rucksacks before packing up and doing it all again the next day. Sounds fun, doesn't it? They do provide milk and beer at the overnight camp, apparently...won't need to pack the cocktail shaker then...
Aside from heavy training on the fells (see below), preparation for this great event has engendered a whole new raft of strange behavioural traits, from weighing incongruous objects to eyeing up bin bags and bits of tin foil with peculiar relish. And who would have thought that bubble wrap and modelling balloons could be this year's must-have outdoor accessories?
Still, this has been the real focus of the last 6 months, and of late, Penny and I have been ramping up the training considerably to meet our challenge... this has, unfortunately, coincided with a particularly wet spell on the fells, and so we've had two weeks of extraordinarily disgusting runs of a wintery nature. What with the kayaking rescue techniques that Stu and I have been...err..practising.. as well, I can't say I've ever been closer to Trench Foot than now.
You might have wondered why it's been a bit quiet here of late. This photo might explain few things: buying a kayak has been quite a saga which has engrossed us in a way we could never have imagined. It has been said that buying a sea kayak is one of the hardest decisions you'll make, and while it's a bit laughable, over time, this did seem to be the case. Still, the agonising was worth it, and I'm now the proud owner of this 17 footer, the Nordkapp LV. It's lovely. Stu's Inuit Excite is still a glob of fibreglass glinting in a Welshman's eye, so to speak, but will be worth the wait. In the end, being a bit of a lightweight meant I only had a limited choice of boats, but this one is fantastic, and very fast. While the Nordkapp LV is a fine example of what has become known as a contemporary British form kayak (building on the traditional Greenland form kayaks), Stu's Inuit is perhaps one of the newer generation beasts which I suspect will turn a few heads along the way.
These furry locals were on the route we perhaps should have been on, but weren't, due to a little problem with the guidebook. Still, the climb we did that day was a great 6 pitch beastie with a few difficult moves/pitches which kept us amused. You'd think that it couldn't be that hard to create foolproof topos that work, but a lot of them seem to fall down at the last hurdle. Come the revolution...