Friday 17th August. 22:00. Ellenborough’s Alex Roberts set off on an attempt of the Bob Graham Round. After a summer of glorious weather and few date push-backs, the decision was made to finally go ahead and give it a go this weekend. That was despite a pretty damp weather forecast.
Leg 1 proved the previous statement was a bit of an understatement, with strong winds & rain on the summit of Skiddaw. The fun didn’t stop though, on Blencathra the clag and driving rain made visibility down to only a couple of feet. After a few circles trying to find the actual summit the descent was made. Taking the decision to drop down via Doddick Fell rather than Halls Fell due to the wet and windy conditions.
Leg 2. Moving well, not much rain and the wind had died down at the lower levels. Hitting Clough Head then Great Dodd, no problems. We picked up the trod, visibility very low due to the clag and the dark of the night. We followed the path up to Stybarrow Dodd……… WAIT! WHAT! Stybarrow? oh no, picking up the trod we cut a corner and missed Watson’s Dodd. So, we tracked back and hit Watson’s.
With that minor detour out the way we carried on. As we hit Raise the wind had really picked up. With a bit of rain and the clag right down, visibility again was down to only a couple of feet at most. Things were all looking good though, and as daylight started to break we made our way down to Dunmail. The support team was waiting for us where we changed into dry clothes ready for Leg 3.
Leg 3 was the mental test and bar far the worst conditions. It didn’t start bad, and we were moving well over the Langdale Pikes. However, on the way up to Rossett Pike the rain came down hard with really strong winds. This weather continued all the way to Broad Crag. All of us were now soaked to the bone. Alex started to feel down and got really cold. We got him into some waterproof pants and kept him moving. He started to have thoughts of calling it a day with the conditions really getting to him. However we carried on and got a break in the weather on the climb up to Scafell Pike. At this point spirits lifted and we moved well over the summit. Due to the weather we took the decision to summit Scafell via Lord’s Rake & West Wall Traverse.
Leg 4. At the changeover the support team did a great job. They got Alex fed and into dry clothes quickly with a couple of added extra layers to keep him warm. His spirits were good again and off they went up Yewbarrow. The clag was down but the harsh wind and rain stayed away. The ground was still really wet but the leg went without any mishap. Although fellow club members and the support team watching the tracker had feared the worst. The tracker seemed to stop just after they hit Steeple. A nervous wait for everyone at Honister. However, not to fear, they arrived at Honister and looking good.
Leg 5. More of the same, with support runners keeping Alex moving well over the final summits. The support team waited at Stair for a quick change of footwear for the road section back to Moot Hall. Good pace over the last section and he arrived back at 21:16.
Congratulations Alex. A Bob Graham Round Member. Completing the route in 23:16. Fantastic effort in tough conditions.
Well done, and well done to all supporting in the various roles required.