Back on the Bob

A little over 18 months ago I made an attempt on the Bob Graham. According to the stats, roughly two out of three attempts fail. Mine was one of them. Though at the time it seemed more like a considered decision than a fail. Whether there is a difference is a moot point perhaps but after the weather closed in on top of Skiddaw, the first summit, there followed a long night of navigating in high winds and thick clag. I made only one error on the Dodds which was quickly corrected and though we remained on schedule for a 23hr round on reaching Dunmail, I was significantly down on the time planned. I was also mentally tired after the intense concentration and poor conditions throughout the night, and descending Seat Sandal, decided enough was enough. My thinking was that I'd try again in a few weeks. Physically that would have been fine. Mentally, after more than a year of build-up to the attempt, I needed a break. But the Bob is a door that once opened, is hard to close.
 And so the recces have started again. This time round, it's more about getting back into the mindset required than learning the route. 
There will be some differences - I plan to run anti-clockwise on the second attempt - primarily because it lends itself to a civilised starting time though I remain a little concerned at the prospect of scaling Blencathra and Skiddaw at the end.
A long day then by normal standards but just two thirds of the route, we started at Dunmail and ran what will be the last two legs, much of it in zero visibility but with stunning views once above the clag.
With just a few months to prepare if all goes to plan, there remains a lot of work to do, painful knees forcing a slow descent of Skiddaw. 
Like all too many, stretching and strengthening work has been neglected for too long. 
More than the recces and more than building fitness, it is this I think on which my second attempt hinges.
But for a short, cold winter's day on which we covered 15 of the Bob Graham's 42 summits, 25 miles and approximately 11,000 ft of ascent, it wasn't a bad start.

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