It’s been a few days since I took on the epic route & challenge of the Bay Limestone Way and here are my thoughts.  Firstly I’d like to thank Tom & Penny for such a beautiful (yet savage in places) route. 

I started off the day after a (not as planned) broken night of sleep, to my alarm at 5.30am. A solid breakfast of 2 soft boiled eggs, peanut butter & banana on toast and a large coffee got me ready for what lay ahead. 

Dropped off at Kent’s Bank Station in good time a few photos were taken. It was a fresh morning and in no uncertain terms my father in law said “bugger off then, or you’ll get cold”! Off I went down the shore and to my surprise a chap I’d only met 2 days prior whilst checking out the start was waiting for me.

Andy Stokes & his dog led me round the very wet headland to the stile and off I went. Humphrey Head done and on my way to Allithwaite where Beau Smith would be waiting to join me. We soon got into a good rhythm and cracked on to Hampsfell with poor visibility, then wiggled our way through boggy fields, lanes & woodland to an ominous looking Whitbarrow. Up the steep climb through the trees and onto the top we found ourselves looking back to where we had come from. The cloud had cleared and the views were stunning. 

After Lords Seat we descended to the first of my feed stops at Lyth Valley Country House.  My parents had my new bottles ready to go and a selection of foods & energy gels for the next leg. After a short stop we headed off again and met up with Jack Pullar & Sean Loughrey. The pace was good all the way to Cunswick where Beau left us then onto Scout Scar ‘Mushroom’ and trig point a little further on.

Just myself & Sean now down to Helsington church before 2nd feed stop at Levens shop. My first marathon distance done and I felt surprisingly well. Here I decided to change socks & shoes as I knew it would be mostly dry for the next few sections. Now it was solo time all the way to Farleton which played with my head a little bit with the canal section. 
Even though it was flat I couldn’t get into a rhythm & knew 2 big climbs were coming.  Starting the climb after the canal section was greeted with rain followed by high winds. Luckily I was joined part way up by Raymond Edgar which made it more bearable as we chatted all the way to the summit (Farleton Knott) then down to the road crossing. Feed stop number 3 and right on cue appeared Mark Davy to join us. Feeling energised I pushed on up to Hutton Roof summit and on the descent a bouncy Barry Choddinton (Sandy Lockett) was waiting.  We flew down and tackled a mud bath on Slape Lane, through Burton in Kendal then onto Yealand. James Gray came out to meet us before the tricky section up to Cringlebarrow and provided ‘rich’ treats.The banter was really helping at this point and I knew my family was waiting before Occupation Road.  What a lift that gave me seeing my Wife, Lois & sons, Hugo & Elliot along with my in laws.
A big swig of water and a gel gave me the energy needed to get up the steep technical climb up to Warton crag summit. We waved goodbye to Sandy & James here. A short road section after the main descent then up to Heald Brow, the well hidden cairn. 

Through the fields of Silverdale to Woodlands Hotel entrance for the last refuel.  A quick stop here as I was keen to finish under 11 hours and could feel I was capable.  We marched up to King William’s Hill, admired the view very briefly then off towards Arnside Tower. I knew this climb was a killer so again we marched up the steep path and got the photo at the trig point.  We could smell the see air and the finish.  A feeling of energy came back into my legs and I gave it a push down the grassy descent and onto the beach. 

Once onto the final concrete path I started to push again all the way along the road before turning onto the pier.
With family & friends cheering me on I finished strong all the way to the end of the pier and smacking the life ring with emotion. I’d done it, a challenge I’d set out to do only 6 months prior with no previous real running experience. It’s only now writing this that it has truly sunken in what I’ve achieved. 2 bloody marathons with hills!!!  ONLY made possible with all the support I had from everyone on the day and the donations received to Rosemere.

In memory of Marie Joyce Barnes aka Nan B who told me soo many times growing up, “There is no such word as CAN’T”

Leon Barnes
Leon Barnes
Leon Barnes
Leon Barnes
Leon Barnes
Leon Barnes
Leon Barnes
Leon Barnes
Leon Barnes
Leon Barnes
Leon Barnes
Leon Barnes
Leon Barnes
Leon Barnes
Leon Barnes
Leon Barnes

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