The Scars of Scafell
The first Three Peaks
Yacht Race puncture!
The new route to Scafell Pike, which
involved bikes for the first time and was a significant
change for the race after 23 years, has proved both successful
and very tough. Times so far have ranged from 7 to 15
hours, and there have been many runners out on the hill
at night, though that might be preferable to the heat
of the day.
Although the start of the ride out
of Whitehaven is very urban the route along the side of
Ennerdale and up to the head of the valley around Black
Sail Youth Hostel passes through Lakeland scenery at its
best. The riders take country roads through Ennerdale
Bridge and then forest trails along the lakeside to reach
Gillerthwaite Youth Hostel, where the bikes are dropped
off. Then they run along the trail to reach the remote
Black Sail hostel and climb over Black Sail Pass, before
dropping into Wasdale Head. Then comes the climb up Scafell
The scenery in Ennerdale is quite
unspoilt, with almost no buildings or developments at
all. However, the extra distance, and especially the extra
climbing to cross Black Sail Pass, have proved hard. As
he got back to the boat after being out for more than
13 hours and suffering from severe cramp one of the runners
from Thunderchild commented: ìIíve never
run more than 10 miles before, and had no time to do the
training. Iíve never even been up a mountain!î
He does come from Essex.
The youngest runners in the race,
from Leopard Clipper, had no such problems. Damon Hoad
and Kim Collinson set an amazing time of 7 hours 13 minutes
taking the lead in the King of the Mountains competition.
(Which they will keep unless the runners from Bennachie,
one of the last boats in, put in a very competitive time.)
This puts them 30 minutes up on the runners from Charter
Continuum and 28 minutes ahead of the team from Red Dragon
2000. They are going to be hard to beat.
Not so lucky were the 2 South African
runners on Sunsail IRPS. Angus Ryan survived a headlong
bike crash, but then Duncan Cordell hurt his knee crossing
Black Sail Pass, an injury which suddenly worsened on
top of Scafell Pike. It took a painful 3 hours just to
get back to Wasdale Head where their support crew picked
them up. At least the crew are all physiotherapists, so
they could look at his injury quickly. But the team are
out of the race.
The longest time on the mountain so
far has been the 15 hours 38 minutes taken by Neale Hairs
and Matthew Stoneman. from Chic
Nic. Coming off the summit they got lost in the dark and
spent several hours trying to find the right trail, before
finally climbing back up again when daylight came. After
due consideration Neil commented; "Going up, then
down, just to go up again, it's a daft idea isn't it!"