Location: Dacre Banks Including parts of the Ripon Rowel Trail, and passing through the Valley of Seven Bridges and Brimham Rocks
CPs: Couple of self CPs (clip yr own card) + regular CPs @ every 3-5 miles. Water, squash + snacks + cake and there is a lunch stop as featured in many LDWA events.
Weather: @24-26 degs C; very sunny; exposed.
Start Time: 08:15 for the runners; 08:30 for walkers/slow runners
Finish: Ends at Dacre Banks (loop trail)
Post Runner Recovery: Certificate + badge + a brilliant buffet.
Water + supplies carried: 2.5 litres of squash + 3 breakfast bars + 2 cheese rolls/2 hot cross buns + cocktail sausages
Up Norf, people are more likely to:
1. Talk to you (even if you don't drag a tyre around with you)
2. Look out for you and help you
3. Be more generous
4. Have a general community spirit
In the South, commuting distance to London, I think we can be more paranoid, with a tendency to be quite self centered!!! Or perhaps as I tend to work in London, I see the dog eat dog world. I feel the aggressive emotions of commuters trying to cram into trains, and cars that will cut you up and run you down. Its bad to have eye contact with anyone and you will see the same people on the platform that will never talk to you unless the train is late or an accident has happened. In rush hour commuter traffic, I have watched commuters tut and push aside an older looking gentleman who was perplexed about how to use his ticket to get through the station's barriers. I assume if they had helped him, they would been a couple of seconds late to stand in the queue on a crowded platform.
This and the last event, have both been in Yorkshire and has certainly been a breath of fresh air physically and mentally.
The day started slightly cool and I attempted to stay ahead of the walkers. However the route starts with a hill and, for obvious reasons, I slow down on hills and then speed up on the down hills over taking many people. Initially two guys (Andy and Graham) became my "implied" buddies as we continually overtook each other and dished out banter to amuse ourselves. They would confirm the route I was taking, though by CP3 I could no longer keep up with them. However I was never alone with walkers still behind me overtaking me on yet another uphill slope.
The sun shone brightly, and the day certainly grew warmer. Two women (Fiona and Marion) passed me on the approach to the church, however the heat was taking its toll, so they decided to take a respite in the shade of a tree outside the metal gates of the church entrance. Fiona on hearing Reu nearing and seeing me closing back in, walked back 10 metres to open and hold the gate open for me. You might be reading this thinking that is no big deal....but NO-ONE has ever gone backwards to help me.
Embarrassed, I thanked Fiona and checked that her buddy Marion was well. Her reddened, anguished face was a concern and so ensured they had electrolytes and water. They ushered me to keep going, assuring me they were fine. There is only so much mothering one can do, before it becomes overbearing. I continued on and they followed soon after, though I lost them on the downhill at Fountains Abbey. They became another pair of "implied" companions who I would meet again in the last 5 miles.
A passing participant stopped for me as I figured out what I should do. Thanking him, I ushered him on. A family (Peter, Sue, Sammy) also stopped and would not be ushered on. They stayed to ensure that Reu was suitably fixed. Fortunately, I carried a spare karabiner and thus hooked my load bearing rope onto some of the string I used to secure bucket onto Reu.
I became confused and told them I was doing my 44th marathon, and thereafter I was sure I was on my 44th (at the end Grahame and Fiona would tell me I was on my 45th). They became my third set of implied buddies, looking out for me whenever they saw me. I left them on a downhill, though I would see them again in the last 5 miles with Fiona and Marion.
Reu was no longer dragging well. The new position of the rope caused her to bounce and topple on any slightly rocky terrain or grassy fields and again had to carry her even on the downhill slopes. She was only happy on tarmac or a gritty path.
CP4 was a fantastic stop. Food galore and with the hot weather there was an ice cream stand! With it being so hot, couldn't eat any of the wraps, cake or snacks on offer, but the ice cream was like food from the heavens.
The great thing about the ldwa events is that they are low cost (less than £10), food at every CP and there's always the banquet at the end. They provide certificates and some give cloth badges, at others you buy the badge. I prefer this rather than the "technical" t-shirt and "bling" other marathons provide. However there is an orienteering element to the events, and you are expected to find your way with a map and/or route description.
After grabbing an ice-cream, I headed back out onto the trail, which was another steep hill. Having plodded half way up, I heard some recognisable voices behind me: Grahame and Andy! Another merry short banter and then they were gone, disappearing over a stile or through another kissing gate as the hill continued to rise. But at the top, is a downhill which meant I traveled faster even though again Reu would bounce and had to carry her down. I caught up with them again and thankfully so, as I don't think I would have ever found the stepping stones which was on a switch back route.
They also ensured I found my way through a wooded area where paths split off into different directions. Although they were ahead of me, they were just holding back so I would see them. Nonetheless, I could not keep up with them. Reu was getting caught on protruding roots and rocks and had to carry her through the woods, anyhow the route was soon clear on the direction I should take.
CP6 was just inside the park and everyone seemed to take a sit down break by the rocks. I allowed myself a chance to refill my bottle before heading back onto the trail. As I headed onto the wrong track, another participant called out to me and corrected me. Eventually the family, Fiona and Marion caught up with me in the final miles. They also corrected me as I was obviously no longer fully comprehending the route description.
Thank you to all the guiding lights who helped ensure I navigated the route correctly, the organisers who put on a brilliant event (the same ones who put on the most excellent Smugglers Trod event), and all those who encouraged, kept gates open for me and donated funds.
Raised £40 on the day for EarthWatch.
Though this is Rock and Rowel, it has a real soul. Really enjoyed this event :)
Next event is back to Salisbury.