Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Finished the Spine race in January despite my sore heel that had been bothering me for around 8 or 9 months. Busy with work and recovering I didn't manage any runs or ling walks for the following two months. With the arrival of March my heel pain very quickly became more intense, so much so that walking more then 3 miles became agony.
That was when I finally went to my GP and on from him was referred to a consultant and his lead Physiotherapist who quickly diagnosed Plantar Fasciitis. From her I went the lead Podiatrist at our local hospital and ended up with a stretching boot like device and a pair of Orthotic shoe footbeds. Both of which have failed to improve matters.
Being extremely frustrated by not even being able to enjoy a walk never mind a run, I purchased a mountain bike, but have to admit to not really taking to biking very well and have only been out on it once so far.
Anyway, I came up with the idea of attempting to walk the Cumbria Way in the standard 5 days. This ropute I have completed many times in both directions, but only previously as a non stopper in around 30 hours each time. However as I like to start my walks before sunrise each day I realised that the average 15 miles daily on this route would have me finishing well before midday even walking very slowly. This propmpted me to decide on another C2C, I would have 6 days available, but if I had to abandon because of my heel, then I wouldn't be too disappointed as I had done it a few times before.
I booked B&B at Tomlin House and caught the train to St Bees on the Thursday. My legs had been unusually tired for three days but i had failed to figure out the reason. Walking from the station to the B&B  they were very tight and I remember thinking this isn't good. Anyway I settled in, nipped over the road to the hotel bar for a drink and meal and had an early night.
Alarm went off at 3.30am and I was out the door with a packed lunch in lui of breakfast and standing in front of the C2C start board. It was 4,34am and here we go.

Note. To zoom in on photos, click on photo. To return to blog, click again but 'off' the photo.

                             On my way at 4.34am. with St. Bees C2C start board in background.

On that first little ascent out of St. Bees my legs were struggling. I pressed on hoping they would feel better once warmed up.
Along the diverted clifftop path, past the cove and Lighthouse I found that although the path had been moved several metres further from the cliff edge at the start, here now it was still right on the edge, with a few gaps in places. Whitehaven came into view, then the quarry was done before arriving in sleepy Sandwith.
                                                  Cliffs with Whitehaven in the distance.

                                                                Through the Quarry

It was raining lightly, but very warm which made things very uncomfortable and I could feel my base layers becoming damp with perspiration. Pace felt like normal but my heel was sore.

                                                                      Dent Hill in view.

                                                       Across to the Stanley Pond area.

Into Cleator and the local Family Store, I re-supplied with extra drinks. My hurriedly packed sack must have weighed around 14 KG and was now a KG heavier still. The forecast was for bad weather with much rain, so I threw in extra clothing layers just in case.

                                                         Early doors in Cleator Moor.

The ascent of Dent Hill was the first real test and it had me sweating as the rain continued albeit lightly.
I arrived at the summit 4 hours and 6 minutes after starting out, just 8 minutes slower than my first sub 5 day crossing.
                                                   Descent off Dent Hill towards Nanny Catch.
                                                  Horses being moved in Nanny Catch.

Through Nanny Catch and Ennerdale Bridge my heel felt much worse and the pain was spreading along the top of my foot making foot placements awkward, however I had somehow managed to claw back the previous time deficit and was now 3 minutes up on my 1st. attempt.

                                                                    Ennerdale Water.
                                                                        River Liza.

I net a couple taking an early break under trees alongside Ennerdale water and stopped for a chat with them for several minutes. Later I caught up with a guy at Black sail Hut YHA and noticed the new Solar panels on its roof.
                                               Black Sail Hut YHA with new Solar Panels.
                                              Through the  Drumlins heading for Loft beck.

Turning left for Loft Beck I could see a group of four ahead of me. With my competitive instincts I would normally have used them as a target to draw me up the steep ascent but on this occasion I doubted I would catch them up, my legs were in becoming increasingly painful in my quad muscles, although my calf muscles were fine. I did manage to catch them after they paused to chat with a guy who was descending. We finished off the ascent together then I pressed on ahead of them.

                                                                         Loft Beck
                                                          Looking across to Haystacks.

By the time I had hobbled had to the Honister Slate Mine Cafe, I was soaked through on the outside with rain and the same on the inside with sweat, I was also becoming chilled, my foot was a mess.
Once inside I ordered soup and Tea and sat chatting with a guy waiting for his wife who had gone adventuring on the wired walk across Honister Crag.
Finished sorted and outside once more I found it had stopped raining and brightened up. I took my jacket off and proceeded down into Borrowdale feeling good, very good realising that my heel and foot pain had ceased. That's weird I thought, why has all that pain and discomfort suddenly stopped!?

                                              Honister Pass path, looking towards Borrowdale.

I decided to cut the corner, not going into Rosthwaite and go through Stonethwaite instead. I found the Tea Room there and had a Bacon Bap and mug of Tea then moved on again,my intention was to reach as near as possible to my 1st attempts camp pitch in Grisedale.

                                                             Approaching Stonethwaite.
                                                             Stonethwaite camp site.

Early on during the climb up to Greenup Edge I came across a resting Andy. He was hoping for a 7 day crossing, setting off at lunchtime the day before from St. bees. he complained of his heavy pack.  We compared and found that we were both carrying about the same. He had been struggling. and was doubting whether he'd manage the full distance in time. I went ahead but he caught me up when I stopped to put my jacket back on. He stopped too and I carried on again, I wished him the best.

                                                  Heading up to Greenup Edge with 'Andy'.

Part way up the climb besides Lining Crag I looked back down to see Andy was some distance behind and moving slowly. He waved and I waved back. I couldn't help feel for him and couldn't see how he could do the crossing within his time limit, baring in mind that I had covered 29 miles this day when I had caught him up, whereas he had only covered 12 miles, having done 17 miles the previous day, and he had set out only 1 hour after me at 5.30am.

                               Looking back from Lining Crag climb with Andy on the lower path.

I was glad to reach Greenup Edge pass, the descent of far Easdale was another matter. With seized up Quad muscles every step down was painful, awkward and slow, which is ironic as my heel continued to be pain free!
                                                                   Greenup Edge Pass.

                                                      Footbridge in Lower Far Easdale.

By-passing Grasmere I looked across to the Tongue and the next ascent but was dar from looking forward to it.

                                             By-passing Grasmere Grisedale Tongue in cloud.

Just after where you have a choice to go to the right or left of the Tongue and over the bridge to the right I found a perfect flat spot and decided to pitch for the night.

                                                           1st pitch next to Tongue Gill.

I quickly set up, inside sleeping bag, it was now 9.30pm and had just started raining again, the first since Honister. I set my alarm for 3.15am and was soon asleep.
Woken I lay briefly listening to the rain on the tent fabric then set about seeing to my feet. No blisters or anything, just needed protection for the miles that lay ahead.

                                             3.45am and feet taped up ready for another day.

Past Grisedale Tarn, Ruthwaite Lodge and through the rest of Grisedale itself I arrived in Patterdale at around 7.45am, the shop there still closed and knew that the next supply point would be Shap.

                                                                    Grisedale Tarn.

                                                         1st Cairn at top of Grisedale.
                                                          A very damp Patterdale

The climb up to Boredale Hause was very slow with non improving legs, but I knew the ascents were not too bad until it came to rounding the Knott.

                                                                  Boredale Hause.

                                                         Campers at Angle Tarn.

                                                             Looking across to the Nab.

                                                 The heavily improved path to the Knott.

Past the Knott in poor visibility and keen to reach Kidsty Pike, I mistakenly took the first track to the left instead of the second and in the mist arrived at Rampsgill Head, a place I immediately recognised and realised what I had done. I soon corrected that and got back on the right path. The wind was very strong now with driving rain being blasted across from Rough Crag direction. On reaching Kidsty Pike I was disappointed to see that the summit Cairn has disintegrated to almost nothing.

                                                         A disintegrated Kidsty Pike Cairn.

I backtracked from there as I was now going over High Raise and picking up the MTV track that leads all the way past Low Raise to Measand Bridge and beck, which I follow down to regain the main route at Hawswater.

                                                                  Measand Brdge and Beck.

It was a pleasant walk through the fields and moor towards Shap Abbey although again uncomfortable in the lasting rain.
I reached the old packhorse bridge.

                                                    Packhorse Bridge near Shap Abbey.

Ascending a small hill I could hear a tannoy in the distance then loud cheering and thought it must be pop/rock festival and wondered how they wee going on with the rain. On the brow I suddenly saw huge numbers of runners who were climbing over obstacles in the next field. further on I could see hundreds more runners stretched out over an undulating course. Down below me to my left they were jumping over a low wall of fire and landing in a pit full of muddy water, up to their chests.

                                     Total Warriers leaping over the fire to land in water filled pit.

Their route then had them crossing the river, before long climb up the next hill. I crossed their path and headed for the Abbey.

                                          Spread out across all the fields and through the river.

At the Abbey Bridge, there were ropes laid across, but the river now in spate too deep for them to wade across, left them with no option but to swim for it before clambering up a net attached to the steep bank on the opposite side.I inquired with one of the marshals as to what the event was, and was informed that it was 'Total Warrier', held every year and was 10K in length, with a 10 miler being held the next day. It was certainly very popular.

                                         Shap Abbey river in spate. They had to swim across.

I had a meal in Shap at a pub there and proceeded on my way. by this time I was having to frequently stop and sit down my legs had, had it and my pace was snails pace. I crossed the M6 footbridge.

                                                         C2C Motorway Bridge crossing.

The following miles past Oddendale, by-passing Orton were painfully slow and I knew that to carry on further would mean risking serious injury to my leg muscles. I decided to call it a day. this was a most difficult decision as I had never failed to reach my destination during a multi day walk before, however I had no choice. 70 miles done in all.
I came across a weather beaten board attached to a fence with the telephone number of a B&B. I got a signal so called them. They no longer did B&B but gave me another number. I called them, they had room and arranged to be collected at the next road crossing. I had no sooner reached the road and started to walk down it, when Dave arrived in his car. Duly transported to their B&B and welcomed by his wife Chris, I settled in then went downstairs for a meal she had prepared.
Next morning after breakfast Dave drove me to the rail station at Oxenholme and I arrived home a few hours later.
Disappointed and in with a feeling of slight shock at how bad my legs had been, I still couldn't then and even now a couple of weeks later figure why my legs had felt so tired. The only thing I do know is that they still feel the same way now. I always annalise when things go wrong and usually eventually come up with reason for things. I have got thoughts as to the reason being one of two things. Either the Orthotics that I had been wearing that seem to want to push my feet in a different position affecting my knees has put a strain on my legs or that I may have dipped a little under again in the Anemia stakes. I am borderline Anemic all the time. Who knows, time will tell.