Saturday, 19 May 2012

Duncan Gump

The sun emerges on Clough Head (Photo: Viv Scott)

As dawn crept into the Eastern sky we could make out the glimmering of torches coming off Blencathra.  Flickering left and right, snaking down to Thelkeld and the waiting support teams.  Duncan, Adam and Andy, supported by the irrepressible Viv, soon arrived out of the gloom, steaming like colts in the frosty morning air, smiles beaming across their faces.  Leg 1 of 5: complete.  They'd been out for four hours already, starting at one in the morning on their second attempt at completing the Bob Graham Round, the Lake District challenge of 74 miles and 42 peaks in under 24 hours.   The first attempt having been cut short by wild weather almost a year previously.

Dermot and I were Duncan's pacers for leg 2, the graveyard shift from Thelkeld to Dunmail Raise.  Like a Grand Prix pit-stop, Sarah had Duncan's kit laid out ready for him on arrival: a change of socks, a bite of pizza, a mug of warm soup, water, jelly babies, jaffa cakes.  I took the rucksack from Viv, who stuck to his all-night- party-animal form and decided to carry on with us (if you've got up at midnight to go running, I guess there's not much point stopping at half four).  And within a few minutes of their arrival, we were off.

Toward Great Dodd (Photo: Viv Scott)

Four and a half hours later, leg 2 completed on schedule, we waved a freshly refuelled and re-shod Dunc goodbye as he started up Steel Fell with his new team of pacers for leg 3.  Sarah's job, as lynch-pin support driver for legs 2 and 3 was  now complete, it was 0830, and we had the rest of the day to play with.  However, somewhat weary after an early start, the best we mustered was the Langdale Boulders (mainly bouldering, but a fair bit of dodging the mountains of sheep shit too), followed by tea and cakes in Ambleside, a snooze, a wee walk to Derwent Water (watched a fishing osprey) and then a race back into Keswick to see Duncan sprinting up the high street looking fresh as a daisy.  He took 19 hours, 32 minutes for his Bob Graham Round - very fast indeed.  Adam and Andy arrived within the hour, making a trio of fast BGs.  Nice one boys!

To the victor, the spoils: Duncan after 19hrs 32mins of being Forrest Gump. (Photo: Matthew Tilley)
Sunday morning routes: M.G.C at Shephards Crag (Photo: Viv Scott)

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