Mountain - Scafell Pike
The heavy rains of Sunday night slowed eased off but there
was no let up in the wind and the yachts coming in early
on Monday morning had taken a pounding. Between 01.00 and
02.39 'Midnight Getaway', 'Mew Gull', 'Assent' and 'Positive
Impact' came into Whitehaven Marina, but no one was in a
hurry to set off up Scafell Pike.
Assent still had no engine and was sailed right into the
lock, an impressive piece of seamanship in such strong winds,
and Positive Impact decided to wait until daylight before
Dean Townend and Heath Reilly set off. With his visual impairment
Dean had had enough of night fell running on Snowdon!
Chic Nic came in later in the morning very shaken up after
suffering badly with seasickness, so they took time out
to recover a bit and take a shower before their runners
headed for the mountain. They set the slowest time on Snowdon,
but seem happy to take things at their own pace. On the
bike ride to Ennerdale Graham Ascott stopped for a rest
and said: "I've not been on a bike for 25 years!"
They are now bringing up the rear of the race as both the
yachts left behind have now retired with neither reaching
Caernarfon. ESOX was reported as being towed off Caernarfon
Bar and Artful Dodger has retired, though we don't know
if they ever left the marina at Pwllheli."
At the front end of the race the lead won by 'Lightning
Reflex' was extended when 'Hannah' left to give chase, only
to come back in again half an hour later. With no sail up
at all they were still moving at 4 knots and it's a measure
of how tough the conditions were that one of the biggest
yachts in the race came back in again.
So, on Monday morning only one yacht was at sea and the
rest were in port, most of them with their runners out on
the Scafell Pike. Jonathan Blanchard and Philip Pascoe picked
up their bikes and commented on the conditions on their
way back. "It was so hard to find your way in the dark,
the trail runs over rocks and is marked by cairns, but in
the dark you couldn't tell rocks from cairns and we keep
losing the path." The runners from Assent had the advantage
of arriving at Scafell Pike after dawn and were delighted
to set the second fastest time on the mountain stage.
Low clouds have stayed over the mountain tops for days now,
so even in daylight careful navigation was still required.
Black Sail Pass, which has to be crossed before reaching
Scafell Pike was clear, though the wind was so strong it
was hard work just walking downhill from there. Even on
the big inland lakes in the 2 valleys the teams cross, Ennerdale
and Wasdale, the wind was whipping up columns of water from
the surface. Out at sea it's still far, far worse, with
no sign of the storms abating just yet.