Sunday, 28 April 2013

Dark & White Mini Mountain Marathon: Rowter Farm

Hopping out of the car at Rowter Farm just to the South of Winnats Pass caused more than just me to shiver this morning. The wind blowing in from the south cut right through any non-windproof clothes with biting insistence. I was glad I'd opted for leggings+shorts and had waterproof trousers tucked in my rucksack just in case. Some of those in shorts were less than happy. It was so chilly that I did my final prep with clothes, watch, bag etc in the car with doors firmly closed.

Registration was in a shelter, thankfully out of the wind, which held me captive for a few moments while I braced myself for the start. I didn't have long to wait until the starting window opened, so by the time I'd finished sorting gear and taken an easy run up the track to the starting dibber it was close to 8.30am.

I was handed a map and did my usual trick of forgetting to start the watch...then the rabbit-in-the-headlights freeze gripped me for a few moments as I pondered which way to start. I decided on a vaguely clockwise route, seeing there may be more chances for me to bag a few late points on the east/south approach to Rowter Farm - if I had spare time.

Heading onto Lords Seat/Rushup Edge from Mam Nick
Heading north my first check point was CP4. I set off with a Pennine runner, just by chance, so we chatted a bit as we kept an easy pace. After Windy Knoll it was across the road and up to Mam Nick, then west to CP9 on the Lord's Seat/Rushup Edge path. I pondered whether to continue westwards to get CP10 worth 25 points but the wind was vicious. Hindsight blah blah....but it's done now, and at the time I didn't feel I could run into the wind. Walking at that point seemed like it would take up too much time while taking me further away from the start/finish. 

Back Tor and Lose Hill in the distance
So, I doubled back to Mam Nick and round the north side of Mam Tor to dib at CP15, then on to Hollins Cross and down towards Backtor Farm for CP20. That bagged me 25 points - I don't normally get any of those so I was quietly pleased.

By now I'd been going for about 45mins. Next came the climb back up to the Mam Tor ridge so I could traverse to CP19. Almost an hour in and it felt like I was now heading back to the finish....which was a good thing as I'd set myself a target of a minimum of 5 CPs and 2hours out. With no long runs done recently a 3hr event was a big ask. I don't like overstretching (as I'm liable to break) myself so was content with my plan.

Looking into the Edale valley with Grindslow Knoll framed between the trees - a pause as I climb towards the ridge

Looking west towards Mam Tor as I leave CP19
I wove my way through several groups of young walkers (DofE groups most likely) who seemed to be swarming around the place. Thank you to one group who anticipated my arrival and opened/closed a gate for me somewhere on the route, much appreciated.  I was now heading off the ridge on the south side, down to CP16 amongst a jumble of path junctions. Then it was down further and onto hard pack track and tarmac, past Hollowford centre and to CP17. I was tiring now, and annoyingly my x-talons (worn only once previous with no issues) decided to rub my left heel. I ignored the inevitable blister that formed over the next 8km or so...rule#5 commenced.

Castleton village with Peveril Castle on the hillside above
Down into the village of Castleton my route choice now ignored the CP8 out-and-back-option. I'd been out 1.5hrs and was thinking of getting shoes off and stopping. Not that I was about to give up, far from it. I just started to visualise the finish. I also knew that I still had to get up Cave Dale. But also, there were a few options to bag more points towards the disused quarries if I had time/energy/will power.

Looking up Cave Dale...and...Looking down Cave Dale with fellow mini-mm'ers ascending and descending to/from CP22

So, onwards and up Cave Dale, dibbing CP22 (and reattaching the flag to the iron gate before it blew 
Dibbing CP22 in Cave Dale
away). Then up and once again into a fierce headwind. This now slowed me considerably, though I cheered up on seeing fellow Glossopdaler Zoe and partner bounding downwards on their anticlockwise route. I clearly had tiredness creeping in, going a little off-route and requiring a compass to take bearings down a few walls - just checking I was where I thought I was - and yes, it was slightly in the wrong place. But, I'd put the error right before doing any distance and soon I was running towards CP3, back to the track and west to CP1.

CP3 looking towards Mam Tor

Closer view of CP3
Looking east from near CP1
Headwind struck again, forcing me to walk where I really should have been able to run. Let's say it was a headwind and tiredness combination. Now I'm heading to CP2 but miss a stile and have to back track slightly - no wall or fence climbing for me. I also needed to avoid a disused quarry. So, after 2:45 I'm within sight of the finish line and sadly don't have enough time to put right my slight errors and bag CP2. Not to worry. I dib to finish and immediately sit down.

CP1 looking west towards the disused Eldon Hill Quarries

I felt weary. I also felt (and still do) very happy. 18km and 150 points in 2hrs 45mins and 22secs. I shall sleep well. That is, after downing a good bowl of beef stew that's been bubbling away in the slow cooker all day - I knew getting up early to put that on was a good idea.

Results have been posted - I'm 135th/165.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a fun day out Lynne! Would have been a good combination of navigation and running.