The best laid plans

So I hear you might be up for supporting a leg of the Bob Graham, Mike had said. Maybe I replied. It might be more of a foot than a leg I added, a little wary of promising more than I might be able to deliver. In the end, I opted to run in from Wasdale to meet the guys on Rosset Pike above Langdale and pace them as best I could up and over Bowfell, Esk Pike, Great End, Ill Crag, Broad Crag Scafell Pike and Scafell, before dropping back to Wasdale. It was a good plan, the logistics simple, requiring no shuttle, and allowing me to gain height without pressure - a damaged achilles tendon making the ascents painful if taken too quickly, though there is little discomfort on the level or descending. Still, the best laid plans and all that...
Last light the night before from my camp - the setting sun catching the flank of Scafell and the line of the descent that concludes the third leg of the Bob Graham (the complete route being 66 miles, taking in 42 summits with 27,000 ft of ascent). As I settled into the warmth of a down bag, the guys were just leaving the Moot Hall in Keswick - the wind had eased, the skies were reasonably clear and while it was cold, it seemed a reasonable weather window had opened. So far so good.
Leaving Wasdale Head around 7.30am, I made steady progress to Sty Head Tarn and then on and up to Esk Hause before dropping to Angle Tarn and making the short climb back to the summit of Rosset Pike (651m), the Langdale Pikes beyond.
With time to spare I sat awhile in the sun, looking across to the crags - Gimmer in particular, memories of the classics, North-west arete and Kipling Groove two of many routes whose moves remain clear in my mind's eye despite the years.
After visiting the top of Rosset Pike, I climbed a short way up the rising traverse of Hanging Knotts - a short but tough section for those who have been on the go for nearly 12 hours - and settled down out of the chill wind to wait. Few walkers use this route, though three other parties on the Bob Graham passed through - each thought those I was waiting for were just a little behind and so I waited a little longer. Until it was clear something had gone wrong and that even if they appeared now, it was far too late to make up the time required to finish within the 24hr limit.
I decided to continue anyway, and at least recce this unfamiliar section of the route to Bowfell. From there I retraced my steps before continuing on the ridge over Esk Pike and on up to Great End after which I dropped back to Esk Hause, making a fast descent on the rocky track back to Wasdale Head where I learnt of the others fate, a knee injury forcing a halt someway short of our planned rendezvous.
A good day on the fells then, if rather different to the one planned, and humbling to think that having taken in three major summits with approximately 5,000ft of ascent, my route was but a fraction of what at least five individuals (four teams) attempted today.


is there a way I can subscribe to your blog via email…? Your posts and pictures are fantastic but I keep forgetting it's there… I don't have, or want, a yahoo or netvibes account
Oops, sorry ignore my comment of a mo ago, just noticed the RSS feed. I'm such a dummy sometimes.
Will Herman said…
Hey Mike - Thanks very much for your comments - I hope future posts are up to scratch! Actually I keep meaning to move to a format more like your site - a winter project perhaps...also, your images are inspirational I think, from a photographic perspective as well as the paddling / biking etc. And that's enough mutual back slapping for one evening!
Allison Simpson said…
Wow The BG round is now very popular!
Will Herman said…
Hi Allison - that was my thought, though it may have been more to do with a weather window and it being the end of half term week...that said, I was surprised by the sheer number of people who have now done it looking at the records on the BG site. I think it's great that so many are inspired to do it, especially given that it is not accepted as a qualifying event in the UTMB process anymore. I would like to think many attempt it based largely on a love of the lakeland fells, rather than for the kudos of some of the Ultra races out there...
Haha, 'mutual backslapping...', brilliant. It would appear that we're ace ;-)
Ian Johnston said…
What a cracking day on the fells Will!

Seems like one of those occasions when a super day emerges when things evolve away from the original intent :o)

Kind regards