‘Don’t run the legs off each other on the first climb!’ Was the instruction ringing in our ears as we left the carpark below Rannerdale Knots on a calm and sunny Monday morning, to depart on leg 23 out of 24. Myself and Rory wouldn’t claim to specialist in the ‘long stuff’, and we both enjoy a short blast. This leg at around 20km, was somewhere between a short blast and the long stuff so we had to be careful how we went.
We had both recced the leg well and knew every grassy ramp and trod, discussing each junction before we approached and always taking the right course. On the first climb we discussed the pacing, held ourselves back as instructed and planned to give it everything if we still had anything for the last hour or so. The leg is almost all on good runnable paths except the really steep and fun descent from Causey Pike directly towards Barrow, which 50% of our party enjoyed.
The last hour approached, and some quick calculations showed we were on to finish in under 3 hours, our best estimate had been 3:20, we didn’t know if the tracker was working due to poor mobile coverage, so were concerned leg 24 might not be ready for us. Rory fired off a WhatApp message on the last descent “down in 5”, which got through to the waiting team a minute or so before us, leading to a somewhat rushed changeover.
Throughout the leg Rory was faster on the runnable sections and I was faster on the steep stuff, meaning at all points we each had someone to chase – the pace was brilliantly furious. Not what everyone would enjoy, but 24 hours later and i’m still smiling about it. One of the best mornings out I’ve ever had on the fells.