Kath: Having already done a recce of Leg 1 of the Bay Limestone course in perfect conditions the week previously myself and David Downes were feeling confident. We had realised that we needed to stay low around Humphrey Head after going slightly short the previous week, other than that the course should hold no surprises. My biggest concern, although I had spent most of my career seeing very early mornings, I have never been known for my love of them. 5am alarm! But with just 12 hours of daylight, needs must.
Pick up in Carnforth saw us at Kent's Bank in very good time. Skies lightening nicely we were able to set off slightly ahead of schedule at 06.22. Much needed as the lower reaches we missed last week were much harder to circumnavigate. Trying desperately to keep our feet dry, to absolutely no avail. Now I understood why the date relied upon low tide. But as we ran up towards the trig point the sun rose beautifully from the east over the bay onto the most perfect conditions.
Back on familiar ground we ran through fields with gamboling lambs, particularly a set of black faced twins, that can always be relied upon to raise one's spirits.
Up through the lovely village of Alithwaite, the longest stretch of asphalt branched off to the right towards Grange and then branched left, towards the start of the off road climbing towards Hampsfell Hospice at a height of 222 metres. Very steep initially, faster to fast walk, and then steadily rising to the summit. Other walkers around even at such an early time allowed for photo opportunities at the summit that didn't mean selfies, that are never the selfies young folk can conjure up. The 360 degree view over the Bay and over towards the Lakes is a wonder to behold, especially on this most perfect of days.
Pretty much down hill now, fairly dry underfoot I was relieved to find as descending on both foot and bike are my nemesis. Back into the valley and lovely bridle ways, with a little more asphalt that led to obviously a short missed path as we had to clamber over barbed wired fences. Weary legs by this time could have done without this and another off road section parallel to the much easier road section going under the main A road also warranted more clambering over stiles, with a slight anxiety that I may have led us to a route that wouldn't head under the very busy A road. Thank the Lord though, it did, and then we were heading to the last little sting in the tail climb up to High Newton Resevoir and the sights for sore eyes of Maggie Wild and Chris Clarke who would relieve us of the tracker for Leg 2 and our lovely chaffeur John Sutton who would ferry us back to the car. 2hrs 22 mins for the 15.94km route with 434 metres of climb, pretty much what we had estimated.
Maggie: Highlight – seeing the pair from the leg before coming into view and knowing we would soon be off on our section. Low point – realising half a mile in that I’d left my mobile phone on a fence post at the start while fiddling with my shoes and having to run back and get it. Remembering the way, forgetting the way. Enjoying the company and the fabulous views. Summits always a pleasure. Relieved it wasn’t raining. Wishing my legs were faster and stronger. Highlight – arriving at the next handover point and seeing the next pair so pleased to see us and ready to take up the tracker.
Simon: Highlights, the route/views, the weather, the colour of the sky as the sun set, the company, @David Downes unexpectedly appearing on a country road to cheer us on, the cheers coming into the finish and coming round a corner and almost running straight into a cow in a very unexpected place on warton crag. PS My legs hurt
Zoe: Highlights for me: Cow whispering, Thinking we were on the route when we were in a bog, my toddler son greeting us at Arnside tower then crying mummy when I shuffled off….. Simon being so patient when I struggled on the hills and there were many hills. Simon trying to keep his trainers clean until he eventually realised there was no other way but through the boggy mud, thinking I can see that boy’s a road cyclist if he’s not embracing the mud. Crawling up Arnside Knott in the pitch black thinking where’s Hobbit with my chips? Knowing this was hard but just the beginning of getting my mojo back…. And next year I’ll be back and the hills will be just as high but it will be easier and great to make a new colt friend….
The final line up
Greg Sykes again
Leg 1 start 06:22 duration 2 hours 20
Leg 2 start 09:01 duration 2hours 51
Leg 3 start 12:00 noon duration 2hrs 9
Leg 4 start 14:09 Duration 1hr 24
Leg 5 start 15:33 Duration 3hrs 25
Finish time: 18:58
Total duration 12hrs 36