> Bob Graham Round: Mike Jeffrey

Saturday 16th July 2005, 7am

Up at 5.30am from our base at Berrier and after a large bowl of porridge with banana, off to Keswick to rendezvous with the first leg team (and others who had been camping at Bassenthwaite) at the Moot Hall for 6.40am. Final arrangements made and photos taken, George, Graham, Alan (on his bike) and I set off at 7am prompt. High cloud and a cool still morning made for a pleasant gentle jog down the road that saw us at Little Town by 7.36am. Steady ascent of Robinson as cloud began to break and George dropped off the back. Graham and I continued over Robinson, Hindscarth and Dale Head and descended to Honister for 9.08am, for a sit down a cup of tea and a sandwich from the Sue and Paul support team. (George arrived 20 mins later!)

Six minute rest; change of shoes, and off with Paul, Kevin and Graham up to Grey Knots and Brandreth. Graham traversed below Gable to Beck Head, while we took Green Gable and Great Gable (10.10am) and the first summit photo. Good descent from Gable picking up a scree run for the final third and meeting Graham again at Beck Head. A steady ascent up to Kirk Fell and down to Black Sail pass from where Graham descended to Wasdale to meet the support team. On to Pillar summit (in the only low cloud of the day), and a nasty tumble for Paul on the descent to Wind Gap left him grazed but OK to continue. Paul and I detoured to Steeple leaving Kevin to take a summit photo from Scoat Fell. On to Red Pike, down to Dore Head, up to Yewbarrow with a final and unexpectedly good descent to Wasdale for 1.00pm.

15 minutes rest, a tuna sandwich, a tin of peaches and a cup of tea, then off with Bob, David and Jeff up the biggest climb of the day. Scafell summit at 2.21pm after Bob bashed out a cruel pace! Mild cramp in both quads soon passed as Deep Ghyll and West Wall Traverse demanded concentration. Scafell summit in sunny weather (with the crowds), and off to Broad Crag, Ill Crag and Great End. Met by the water girls (Sally, Sue and Linda) at Esk Hause and after a few minutes breather off up Esk Pike and Bow Fell for 4.08pm. Bob found us a great descent to Rosset Pike and we took a well earned few minutes rest and splash in the stream at Stake Gill. Good quick walk to Pike O'Stickle and a group photo (courtesy of passing walkers) on Harrison. Walk on to Raise and run to Seargent Man. Down to Calf Crag (for a few more photos) and a jog/walk on to Steel Fell. Worries about being up on schedule (and our support team perhaps not having arrived) were soon quelled on surmounting Steel Fell to see the reception party in full swing at Dunmail! A horrible descent over boulders obscured by bracken saw all 4 of us falling on our way down, but spirits were high as we were met by banner waving children and a hot meal!

Full 20 mins rest, bolognaise, rice pudding and tea. Leggings on for the night and off up Seat Sandal with Jerry, Dave, Paul and Jeff. Photo on Fairfield in the evening sun at 8.34pm before meeting Sue, Sally and Sue on the ascent of Dollywaggon. Helvellyn at 9.45pm and a rendezvous with the support team at Sticks Pass as the daylight faded before saying goodbye to the girls and continuing along the Dodds with excellent night navigation by Jerry and a faultless descent off Clough Head, making Threlkeld at midnight exactly.

Another full 20 minutes rest and tea and the gruelling ascent of Hall's Fell in the dark began with Bob back in the driving seat and Jerry and Dave providing much needed support. The long plod to the River Caldew was navigated to perfection by Bob and Jerry before a tough ascent of Calva, relieved by the added interest of unexplained lights in the sky above Blencathra! Bob found us a great route up the lower slopes of Skiddaw avoiding the bogs and tall heather and the fence below the summit was thankfully negotiated without cramp. Made the summit just as dawn was breaking and it was great to see the support team had made it up to meet us and were huddled behind the summit cairn to escape the stiff cool morning breeze. A brisk walk/jog down to the bottom of Jenkin's Hill for a final photo on the hill and the last mile was taken at a brisk jog through the wood, over the A66 and through Fitz Park to complete a fantastic day at the place I'd begun 22 hours and 22 minutes earlier.

A day I'll never forget, and my thanks to everybody who helped me on the day and in my training.

Specific thanks to:

  • Sue Jeffrey and Paul Craven for brilliant roadside support and transportation of the team throughout the day, and Val and Maxine for additional help with transport.
  • Graham Daglish, George McDougal and Allon Welsh for support on Leg 1- Keswick to Honister
  • Kevin Bray and Paul Appleby (and Graham Daglish to Black Sail pass) for support on Leg 2 - Honister to Wasdale
  • Bob Sewell, David Steel and Jeff Ross for support on Leg 3 - Wasdale to Dunmail Raise.
  • Jerry Sharp, Dave Atkinson, Jeff Ross and Paul Appleby for support on Leg 4 - Dunmail Raise to Threlkeld
  • Bob Sewell, Jerry Sharp and Dave Atkinson for support on Leg 5 - Threlkeld to Keswick.
  • Sue Jeffrey, Sally Welsh, Sue Calvert, and Linda and Kevin Bray, for support on the hills throughout the day.
  • Sue Craven and Michael Craven for moral support, looking after the kids on Saturday, getting them out of bed ridiculously early on Sunday, and bringing them along to watch.
  • Ben and Polly-Anne Jeffrey and Frances and Harriet Craven for cheering me on at Dunmail Raise and getting out of bed at 4am to meet me at the finish on Sunday.

Thanks everyone


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