We have never done this LDWA event before, but it seemed in a lovely area of the country and Melanie wanted to go up Ingleborough again, the last time she went up she was eight years old.
We went over the night before and stayed in Burnley. We wondered round Thompson Park in the evening The park is fairly close to the middle of Burnley and we were amazed to see a deer about twenty meters away from us, It checked that we weren’t getting any closer and carried on feeding.
We left Burnley at 6.45 am for an 8.30 start in Settle. The parking wasn’t close to the start in the Victoria Hall and we checked in at registration and received our tally cards with all the checkpoints listed. We managed to buy a sandwich from the local Booths and had that before we started. We weren’t expecting too much food at the checkpoints, they were described as ‘light refreshments’. We were also told there would be no water at the checkpoint at the top of Ingleborough which seemed perfectly reasonable.
It was clear from the numbers in the hall that there would not many people participating (about 80 runners or walkers over four different routes – 9m, 12m, 16m and 27m). There were only 32 people on the 27m route.
We knew we had to go down a very narrow ginnel (alley) very soon after the start so we made sure we were fairly near the front (this is very unusual for us) and we were about fifth into the ginnel and were able to get through with no delay.
The first two miles or so were in Settle and were easy going. The next bit I had struggled to match the route description to the the GPS route from a previous year. There was a good reason, they had changed the course and then the route description made much more sense.
There was a small climb before Fizor, the first checkpoint but on the whole the first seven and a bit miles were easy going through beautiful countryside which was reasonably flat. However, there were quite a number of gates to open and close and stiles to climb over. We passed through some attractive villages, Fizor, Austwick and Clapham.
After Clapham we started the climb up Ingleborough. It was long, rocky and tiring. We had cloud cover, but it was warm and very humid which made things a bit more tricky. We reached the summit (11m), checked in and started the steep descent, which got much more runnable after a while – we flew down some of it, trail running at its most enjoyable. Then after we had descended, the stiles (particularly ladder stiles which just sap your energy) started to come in numbers.
We made it back to Clapham (a different way) and started to head back towards Settle. The way out had been pretty flat but this time we were sent up several hills. After leaving Clapham, the route description talked about passing through two tunnels. We were a bit doubtful they would really be tunnels, but they were. I have no idea why they were there.
After Austwick we entered a site special scientific interest – Oxenber and Wharfe Woods. They were full of bluebells which were just past their best. A few weeks ago it must have been an amazing site
At the Fizor checkpoint we were told we were joint 7th. I don’t think we have ever been so high in the field before. We managed to hang on to this position until the end. Exactly seven hours it took us, but my total count was 44 stiles, 34 normal gates and 4 kissing gates. They all disrupt your running and deplete your energy. Then of course there was Ingleborough, which took quite a while.
At the finish there was tea and a meal – pie and peas followed by peaches and rice pudding. How they make any money out of a £10 entry fee is amazing.
All in all a lovely, scenic but tough day out. Certainly tougher underfoot than last Sunday’s Lakeland Trails marathon.