We did it! A continuous relay of the 214 Wainwrights in 4 days 6 hours 50 minutes 15 seconds.What a team. The encouragement, enthusiasm and efforts put in out on the hills day and night has been amazing. What a thing we just did!!
‘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.
A leisurely start for the final leg. Stan and Steve waiting at Newlands Hause with 2 dogs who couldn’t work out why we had driven there and were just standing around and were not running. The absence of a signal meant we had no idea of what time to expect Rory and Andy then sudden panic as they appear off the summit of Knott Rigg 30 mins early. Just enough time to get final preparations ready, strap on the tracker and off up the very steep climb to the side of Moss Force.
The small sheep trod that leads directly to the summit of Robinson was found and a steady climb saw us at summit number 209 in just over 20 minutes. From there it was great running to Hindsgarth and Dale Head. We found a good direct line down to Dalehead tarn and then the lovely descent fom High Spy. It was quiet until we hit Catbells, summit number 214, where we met the hoards and dodged through them until we reached the road.
Followed the Cumbria Way to Portinscale where we were met by a large contingent of DFR members and family with pushchairs and even cowbells which was a great boost to morale and put a bit of a spring back into tired legs.
The cowbells proved very effective in clearing a route along the narrow path into Keswick, helpful on a bank holiday Monday and the Moot Hall was reached at 1450. 4 days, 6 hours, 50 mins and 15 seconds, 214 summits, 27 runners and 2 dogs. Fantastic weekend. Chapeau Fran and Andy.